New Zealand vs Australia, first T20 at Christchurch (5pm AEDT) —
The road to the 2021 T20 World Cup in India has begun with Australia and New Zealand starting their five-match series in the first T20.
Having lost the toss, the Black Caps are 3-20 afyer 4.3 overs.
Daniel Sams removed Martin Guptill for a duck on just the third ball of the innings, as the Kiwi opener’s thick outside edge found Ashton Agar at backward point. Guptill is on a horror run in T20 cricket having not hit a half-century in the format since 2019.
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MATCH CENTRE: New Zealand vs Australia, first T20
Jhye Richardson — who was bought for $2.48m in the IPL auction last week — then doubled New Zealand’s woes by bowling Tim Seifert (1) with a perfectly executed yorker in the third over.
Star batsman Kane Williamson (12) couldn’t stop the early rot as Sams found his edge to have him caught behind the following over.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), Matthew Wade (wk), Josh Philippe, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Daniel Sams, Ashton Agar, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa
New Zealand XI: Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway, Glenn Philipps, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
The big team news for Australia is that young gun Josh Philippe will make his debut for Australia after yet another stellar BBL season.
He’ll bat at No.3 behind openers Aaron Finch and Matthew Wade, while Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh round out the batting order.
All-rounder Daniel Sams has retained his spot as a third quick alongside Kane and Jhye Richardson, while Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar form a twin spin attack.
That leaves Riley Meredith on the sidelines just days after he snapped up a $1.42 million deal with Kings XI Punjab at the Indian Premier League auction.
Aaron Finch leads a severely depleted Australian outfit that is without its multi-format stars due to a schedule conflict with the tour of South Africa, which has since been postponed.
Leading a team without the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner or Pat Cummins available would be an unenviable task at the best of times for Finch, but it becomes even more daunting given his form slump in the game’s shortest format.
Finch had a dire campaign with the Melbourne Renegades, making just 179 runs at 13.76 in 13 innings with a top score of 39.
The slide accelerated in the closing weeks — Finch’s most recent four scores are 0, 10, 4 and 6.
Making matters worse for Finch, however, was that Indian Premier League franchises took notice, and he went unsold at the auction last week.
But while his teammates Glenn Maxwell ($A2.52m), Jhye Richardson (A$2.48) and Riley Meredith (A$1.42m) snapped up million-dollar deals, Finch has taken the blow on the chin and is ready to move forward in New Zealand.
“It’s a wonderful competition to be a part of but it wasn’t unexpected that I wasn’t picked up, to be honest,” Finch said ahead of the first match, according to cricket.com.au.
“I’d prefer to be playing cricket, but a little bit of time at home won’t be the worst thing.”
Meanwhile, IPL fans will be eagerly watching how Maxwell, Richardson and Meredith perform having landed mega deals with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab.
Richardson said the experience of the IPL auction left him feeling “exhausted”.
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“I was looking and I know my name came up and I got this wave of almost (being) nauseous not knowing what to expect,” he said
“I feel like I played a game yesterday. I have mentally exhausted myself of so many emotions, really sick and excited. It’s still sinking in that’s for sure.”
On the other side of the series, the pressure will also be on Kiwi quick Kyle Jamieson to show why he landed a huge IPL deal with RCB worth more than $2.6m.
“I had a message from Shane Bond as it was going and he said, ‘How good is this’,” Jamieson told Stuff.co.nz.
“I didn’t actually know what the amount of money, how that translated to New Zealand dollars.
“It was quite cool to share that moment with him and ride that two or three minutes with him.”
As of 4.15pm (AEDT), the Met Service predicted no rainfall in Christchurch on Monday night for the first T20.
The weather forecast is fine, with some high cloud and north-easterly breezes with a low of 14 degrees.
SCHEDULE (all times AEDT)
1st T20: February 22, Hagley Oval, Christchurch, 5pm
2nd T20: February 25, University of Otago Oval, Dunedin, 12pm
3rd T20: March 03, Sky Stadium, Wellington, 5pm
4th T20: March 05, Eden Park, Auckland, 5pm
5th T20: March 07, Bay Oval, Tauranga, 12pm
HOW TO WATCH
Watch every ball of the tour of New Zealand on Fox Cricket 501 or stream on Kayo.