Australia boss Kiwis in T20 tri-series final

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Australia completed a dominant run in the T20 tri-series yesterday by cruising to victory over New Zealand in the final in Auckland.

    Leading into this series, there was doom and gloom hanging over the Australian limited overs set-up, with the ODI side having just been pummelled 4-1 at home by England and the T20 side ranked a lowly seventh in the world.

    All of that negativity quickly melted away as the Aussies recorded five straight. Their wins were all comfortable in this series, meaning they can grab the number one ranking next week if other results fall their way.

    Once again yesterday it was a balanced performance, as the Australians bowled impressively and then finished the job with the blade.

    They did well to keep the Kiwis to a well-below-par of 9-150 and then never looked like losing after D’Arcy Short (50 from 30 balls) and David Warner (25 from 23 balls) put on a stand of 72 in eight overs. A subsequent mini-collapse of 3-12 gave New Zealand some hope, although they weren’t helped by the weather, with rain leaving the outfield moist and the ball damp.

    Rain forced an early end to the match, with Australia winning via the Duckworth-Lewis system after making their way to 3-121 from 14.4 overs.

    Australia were again clinical with the ball, restricting a dangerous opposition batting line-up on this small ground.

    New Zealand got off to a booming start thanks to their destructive opening pair of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro. At 0-48 after 4.2 overs it looked as though Australia might again be tasked with hunting a mammoth score, following on from their record chase of 244 in their previous match against the Kiwis.

    But both of those men were dismissed in quick succession by the new-ball duo of Billy Stanlake and Kane Richardson – who would both be well back in the pecking order if a full complement of players were available, behind the likes of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff.

    Stanlake and Richardson have made the most of their opportunities in this series, each taking eight wickets at an average of 20.

    The towering, 204cm Stanlake has leaned heavily on his intimidating pace and bounce, pushing the speed gun up to 150kmh and getting the ball to leap off the pitch.

    While he’s had a good series overall, Stanlake will need become a more-rounded bowler if he’s to be consistently effective.

    Billy Stanlake

    Billy Stanlake of Australia celebrates. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    Richardson, meanwhile, does not have the same explosive attributes as Stanlake and so has had to execute more subtle skills. He has continually varied his deliveries, changing up not just his pace but also his length and angles on the crease.

    The South Australian’s slower balls have earned him a clutch of wickets in this series, including the huge wicket yesterday of Munro.

    With both opening batsmen gone, in-form spinner Ashton Agar took control of the match.

    The 24-year-old was the outstanding bowler of this series, with seven wickets at 16, while conceding a miserly 6.38 runs per over. In choking the run rate, Agar often earned breakthroughs for his bowling colleagues. Yesterday he was able to cash in, taking 3-27 from his four overs, with all his wickets being top-six batsmen.

    Agar’s accuracy was remarkabe throughout this series which, combined with his crafty changes in flight and pace, made him extremely difficult to dispatch.

    Next-most economical in the series was batting all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who had a miserly economy rate of seven runs per over thanks to his mix of cutters, slower balls, yorkers, and his surprisingly-quick bouncer.

    With Andrew Tye the leading wicket-taker for the series, with ten wickets at 17, Australia got a fantastic spread of contributions with the ball.

    For the first time in a long time, Australia’s T20 team looks in great shape.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (38)

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:08am
      Andrew said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Ronan, with all available bowlers, who would feature in your T20 bowlers?
      Starc
      Stanlake
      Tye
      Agar
      Stoinis

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 10:26am
        Nudge said | February 22nd 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        Starc is a certainty, same with Tye. The third quick between Richardson Cummins and Hazlewood my guess

        • Roar Pro

          February 23rd 2018 @ 3:38am
          Ashan D said | February 23rd 2018 @ 3:38am | ! Report

          Not sure many of you have noticed this, but Stac’s ODI and t@- bowling has been mediocre since start of 2017. He was ranked no 1 ODI bowler back then but has no dropped down to 10th. His new ball bowling has been aweful really but has done with the older ball to save some grace. Just get a feeling there is some complacency creeping into his game which may have resulted in some bad technical habit which has hindered his bowling. What do you think ?

      • Columnist

        February 22nd 2018 @ 10:33am
        Ronan O'Connell said | February 22nd 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        Andrew I’d actually drop Stoinis and play 5 bowlers …… Starc/Cummins/Agar/Zampa plus then one of NCN/Tye/Behrendorff (depending on fitness + form)

        Stanlake, for me, is a bit too one-dimensional at the moment, which is to be expected for a guy as young and inexperienced and him.

        Such is the strength of Australia’s top five that I’d play 5 bowlers, with Carey at 6, Agar at 7.

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 6:02pm
          Andrew said | February 22nd 2018 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

          Not saying that wouldn’t be the best way to go, however Stoinis might feel harshly done by. He has done a pretty good job this summer.

        • February 23rd 2018 @ 12:00am
          Mitch said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:00am | ! Report

          Warner
          Short
          Lynn
          Maxwell
          Finch
          Carey
          Agar
          Cummins/Wildermuth
          Starc
          Tye
          NCN/Stanlake/Behrendorf

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:30am
      BurgyGreen said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      My only concern about this side is Stoinis as a batsman. He hasn’t really had any major opportunities this series but his domestic T20 record isn’t great. Yes, he’s been able to step up in the ODI side, but I do wonder whether his hitting ability at the death in T20 cricket is substantially overrated.

      You could replace him with Mitch Marsh, but Stoinis is a much better T20 bowler. I guess Stoinis is perhaps the better option, as the side needs a quality 5th bowler more than it needs a gun batsman at 6.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 9:27pm
        Joe Bell said | February 22nd 2018 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

        I’m inclined to agree. I’m a Kings XI fan in the IPL and Stoinis hasn’t really performed there either. It’s definitely in him – the ODI form he’s shown makes it clear but just hasn’t quite clicked at T20 level yet

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:35am
      Bobbo7 said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      NZ can be a frustrating team to follow. After 4 quick wickets fell it was time to consolidate for 3 or 4 overs – but no they had to tee off or play cross bat yop-shots and fall in a heap. Could have been an extra 30 runs which may have made the game a bit more interesting.

      Anyway, well played Australia – looking like a very good T20 side these days.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 11:43am
        republican said | February 22nd 2018 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        ……..all sides are frustrating to follow at different times Bobbo, including Australia…….

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:41am
      jamesb said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      Agar should be selected ahead of Zampa in the ODI team.

      • Roar Guru

        February 22nd 2018 @ 9:29am
        Giri Subramanian said | February 22nd 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        Yup Agar was brilliant in the T20 series and for sure has earned the right to be selected ahead of Zampa in ODIs as well.

    • Roar Guru

      February 22nd 2018 @ 9:29am
      Giri Subramanian said | February 22nd 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      Good series for the Aussies and nice to see a good core of players identified for the shorter format. Extremely impressed with D’Arcy Short and Ashton Agar. Good to see Maxwell back in form as well. Australian limited overs side now looks good.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 11:44am
        republican said | February 22nd 2018 @ 11:44am | ! Report

        ………not so good in the ODI however……..

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 3:34pm
          Darren said | February 22nd 2018 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

          Playing the 3 above might help

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 7:44pm
          doogs said | February 22nd 2018 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

          you’re not the cheeriest chap it seems a but i guess if you want to live your life constantly referring back to the past then that’s up to you

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 10:07am
      Paul said | February 22nd 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

      It’ll be interesting the see what the selectors do the next time they have to choose either the T20 or ODI sides. Clearly Warner has been a hit as captain, though his batting hasn’t quite been where he’d likeit. The other guys have all contributed in some way.

      I hope one thing is certain; the guys not in either side like Smith, Starc , etc should not expect to get back in simply because of their reputations because the current short form players have staked strong claims to play a lot more games for Australia

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 11:47am
        Peter said | February 22nd 2018 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        Starc would be a certainty in my best T20 side.

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 1:07pm
          Nudge said | February 22nd 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

          Starc would be the first quick picked

        • Roar Pro

          February 23rd 2018 @ 3:39am
          Ashan D said | February 23rd 2018 @ 3:39am | ! Report

          No Starc is very mediocre these days. ODI ranking dropped down to number 10 from the top.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 7:05pm
        maccaa62 said | February 22nd 2018 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

        Can’t hurt to pick the one day side based on the t20 side could it?

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