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New Zealand vs Australia: Trans-Tasman Rivals Lock Horns in Crunch Match at Lord's

Cricketnext Staff |June 29, 2019, 1:49 AM IST
New Zealand vs Australia: Trans-Tasman Rivals Lock Horns in Crunch Match at Lord's

Trans-Tasmanian rivals - New Zealand and Australia - who are at the top of their game will come face to face in a high-octane World Cup 2019 encounter at the historic Lord's cricket ground on Saturday (June 29).

The Aaron Finch-led side is so far the only team who has officially qualified for the semifinals. Meanwhile, New Zealand's unbeaten run came to an end on Wednesday in Birmingham where they were taken down by Pakistan. However the Black Caps, who are placed third, are just a point away from confirming their spot in the semifinals and will look to seal the deal on Saturday.

Kane Williamson's men had the best possible start to the marquee event as they were unbeaten in their initial six games before losing to Pakistan. It is their bowling attack which has performed in every game but their batting looks a bit average.

Paceman Lockie Ferguson has led their pace attack after bagging 15 wickets from six games. Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Colin de Grandhomme have not been among wickets, however, but they have handed good support to Ferguson by bowling economically. Boult, Henry and Grandhomme have nine, eight and five wickets from six games but they have a decent economy of 4.45, 5.18 and 4.46 respectively. The trio will once again need to replicate their show against an in-form Australian top-order.

In batting, New Zealand have heavily relied on skipper Williamson in this tournament. In their game against Pakistan, batting-all-rounder James Neesham also gave a glimpse of how handy he can be with the bat. The Black Caps were once reeling at 46 for 4 before Neesham's 112-ball 97 propelled them to a fighting total.

With 414 runs from five innings, Williamson averages 138 and is at the fifth place in the list of leading run-getters. A lot will depend on him against a lethal Aussie pace attack as their top-order have disappointed so far.

Meanwhile, Australia are yet to have that perfect game but have managed to win all their matches, except against India. Openers Aaron Finch and David Warner are in superb form and except for the match against West Indies, Australia haven't lost a single wicket in the first 10 overs. Both Warner and Finch are currently the leading run-getters.

The only thing Australia will be worried about is they haven't been able to capitalise in the last 10-15 overs. Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey have played some cameos but haven't really set the stage on fire in that period. This might hurt Australia in coming games.

The bowling has been amazing so far as their two pacers - Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins - have been in outstanding form. Starc has 19 wickets from seven games while Cummins has scalped 11 from as many games. Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Lyon have further added some extra depth in their bowling. Behrendorff took five wickets in the last match and along with Starc dismantled England's batting unit.

Last Five ODIs

New Zealand: L W W NR W

The Kiwis have only lost one match in this tournament and will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Australia. New Zealand are almost through to the semifinals because of their superior Net Run Rate but they can't be complacent about it.

Australia: W W W W L

Australia have won all of their last four games after they were beaten by India. Finch's men would want this winning run to continue and won't take anything for granted in their last two group games.

Players to watch out for

Lockie Ferguson: The right-arm pacer has been Williamson's go-to man whenever New Zealand are in need of wickets. The likes of Warner, Finch and Steve Smith will offer a tough challenge to Ferguson but if he can manage to keep his form going, the 28-year-old will force everyone to sit up and take notice.

Mitchell Starc: The leading wicket-taker of this tournament has 41 wickets in 15 World Cup games (including the 2015 edition). The left-arm paceman is once again doing the job for Australia and has picked up at least one wicket in every game. While Cummins and Behrendorff are difficult to handle as well, New Zealand will be most worried about this man.

Team News/Availability

New Zealand: Colin Munro has struggled to get going in this tournament and New Zealand might bring in Henry Nicholls. The same could be said about Tom Latham and they an option in Tom Blundell. Ish Sodhi is someone who will bring variety into the attack and the legspinner will surely be included in the XI in the coming games.

Australia: The XI they played against England was their best. They looked balanced and Australia will continue with Lyon over Adam Zampa.

Squads

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon.

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Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 India 8099 261
5 Australia 5471 261
see more
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