Batting could decide the outcome between New Zealand and Australia
The match between New Zealand and Australia is going to be a mouth-watering contest in this World Cup as both teams have produced high-quality cricket so far. New Zealand have won all of their matches by huge margin, and are sitting comfortably on top of the group with six points, while Australia out-classed England in their only game they played as their second match against Bangladesh was abandoned due to rain.
New Zealand’s batsmen not tested against quality bowling
So, with both teams riding on wave of confidence from their previous performances, they would be looking to play strong cricket, and it would definitely be an exciting cricket match at the Eden Park Auckland this Saturday. New Zealand have been dominant so far in this tournament. Their bowling has been lethal with Trent Boult and Tim Southee leading the pace-attack, and, the fielding has been outstanding with the skipper McCullum leading from the front.
They have also done well with the bat from the first game against Sri Lanka, where they posted 331 runs and subsequently chased down low targets against Scotland and England. New Zealand, therefore, looks as a settled unit without much tinkering in their line-up, and have the means to reach the distance in this tournament.
However, New Zealand’s batsmen have not been tested against quality pace attack and also under crunch situations. So far their bowlers have set up the game for them, but what will happen when their bowlers don’t click? What will happen when they had to chase more than 270 against a quality pace-attack? That’s where the Kiwis will face a stern test against the Kangaroos, who have a formidable pace-attack and are riding on wave of confidence following a good tri-series against India and England.
Kiwis have the home advantage
For the Kiwis, their bowlers have set up the game till now but against Australia it’s going to be their batsmen who will have to win the game. It’s because both teams have good pace-attack suited to the conditions, but which team’s batsmen have the ability to shine on these testing conditions and against a strong pace-attack? Certainly, New Zealand’s batsmen will have the edge as they are playing on their home ground.
Also, in their last three games, the top order has come good for the Kiwis which is a good sign. They dominated the Lankans in testing conditions, and did a good job in a small-chase against Scotland and England. But the real question is can they repeat the same against the Kangaroos who have quality attack suited to the conditions?
It is going to be a test for the Kiwis batsman as they will be against a formidable attack which has the resources suited to the New Zealand conditions. Mitchell Starc’s ability to swing the ball at pace, Johnson’s ability to deceive the batsmen with short-stuff, and Hazelwood being more disciplined will certainly test the New Zealand batsmen at the start, whether it may be batting first or chasing.
Also, Australia have variation in their bowling attack to curb the run-flow in the middle overs, and with Michael Clarke likely to be back for the match, his on-field captaincy will definitely keep a check on the Blackcaps.
Middle-order batsmen will face strong challenge
It is important for McCullum and Guptill to weather the storm at the start and then make an impact to the match. Guptill has the potential to convert his start into big score, and McCullum is capable of making some serious damage once he is set. Also, with Williamson in good form and powerful finishers down the order, it is important that their openers lay solid foundation. However, if the openers fumble, on both the occasions (Bating first or chase), the middle order will indeed be tested.
There’s no doubt that the New Zealand seamers will keep a check on the Australian batting line-up as they have been on song so far in this tournament. Tim Southee and Trent Boult have been the key performers for the Kiwis in their last three games, and would be expected to replicate the same performance against Australia.
With the conditions likely to aid swing, it will be difficult for the Aussie batsmen to play their strokes freely. Therefore, what would decide the outcome of the match is the team’s batting. If Australia’s batsmen can battle through the tough conditions and post a score, they would likely come out on top in the match, or else, New Zealand would have their noses ahead.
To conclude, the team that shines with the bat will eventually come out as winners and New Zealand will have a slight edge as they are playing on their home ground, and also the fact that they have fired on all cylinders.