21 April, 2024
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Shake-ups as T20 series heads to Auckland’s Eden Park

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For decades, Auckland’s Eden Park has been a place where Australian dreams went to die.

Ask any Wallaby who has played there since 1986.

However, this weekend another Australia side have the rare opportunity to lift a trophy at the venue, with Mitch Marsh’s Twenty20 team arriving with a 1-0 lead in the Chappell-Hadlee series.

Wednesday’s sensational last-ball triumph means Australia need to win just once at the fabled rugby ground, with matches scheduled for Friday night and Sunday afternoon, to claim the trophy.

 The Chappell-Hadlee Trophy is there to be won with Mitch Marsh’s Australia 1-0 up in the T20 series. Image by Marty Melville/AAP PHOTOS 

Just like the first match of the series in Wellington, when Australia passed the Black Caps’ 3-215 on the last ball, the Auckland clashes are expected to be run-fests.

The last visit to Eden Park by Australia’s men’s T20 side came in 2018, when a team captained by David Warner broke the world record for a second-innings score – chasing down New Zealand’s 6-243 with seven balls remaining.

Australia coach Andrew McDonald said the short boundaries down the ground and behind the keeper at Eden Park would require discipline from the bowlers.

“We’ll try to get them to hit to the long boundaries more often than not,” he said.

“Defend straight and get them to hit square. We’ll keep it as simple as that.”

Steve Smith is likely to come into the Australia XI, with Matthew Wade also in contention after delaying his arrival in New Zealand to be at the birth of his child.

There’s also a change in Kiwi availability, with Tim Southee making way for fellow quick Trent Boult, who arrives straight from playing in the International League T20 in the United Arab Emirates.

 Steve Smith is expected to feature for Australia in the second match of the T20 series. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

Boult was the pick of the quicks in the tournament final, taking 2-20 as his MI Emirates defeated the Dubai Capitals.

“He’s world-leading in some areas, in particular the new ball. He poses a threat, swings it, creates headaches for the top order,” McDonald said.

“I’m sure that the boys will be well planned for that.”

Australia turned to speed in Wellington after Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell were smashed around Sky Stadium, with Marsh retiring them both after a combined five overs and opting for pace for the last five overs.

Marsh insisted he wouldn’t hesitate to throw the ball to Zampa for the death overs at Eden Park.

“We always try to hold Zampa for one of the death (bowlers) but we couldn’t get that breakthrough (in Wellington),” he said.

“We always back Zamps in towards the back end. He’s been incredible for us for a long period of time.”

After four straight games in which they have conceded more than 200 runs, concerns the Australian attack is too leaky can be put in context by them winning three of those matches.

“We don’t want to be chasing 216 too often,” Marsh said.

“But on these grounds over here – on the great wickets, small grounds – we have to get used to defending or chasing 200.”

AUSTRALIA SQUAD

Mitch Marsh (capt), Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

NEW ZEALAND SQUAD

Mitchell Santner (capt), Finn Allen, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Adam Milne, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears, Ish Sodhi, Will Young.

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