Toss: Scotland won the toss and chose to field first.
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai, UAE
Umpires: Marais Erasmus & Ahsan Raza
What Actually Happened
Winner: New Zealand won by 16 runs
Scores: New Zealand172/5Scotland 156/6
Player of the Match:Martin Guptill 93 (56)
Safyaan Sharif (4-0-28-2), Mark Watt (4-0-13-1)
Trent Boult (4-0-29-2)
Martin Guptill 93 (56)
Michael Leask 42* (20)
Moments of The Day: Martin Guptill The Difference Between The Two Sides
Sharif’s over put Scotland in the front. First was an LBW to dismiss Mitchell. Then was a brilliant captaincy ploy that you will not see in the highlights. Scotland placed a fielder over short third man. First ball, Williamson hit the ball right to the fielder with his release shot – dab to third man. Four dots later, Sharif bowled down the leg side, and Williamson edged it to the keeper.
Martin Guptill finally played the innings we were waiting for. At the end of the 10th over, NZ were tied down by Mark Watt & Chris Greaves at 70/3. Phillips was struggling at 6 (12). After the break, Leask was introduced and Phillips broke lose. 102 runs came in the last 10. Scotland was right in the battle till the end. Munsey especially was looking good with his two sixes before getting out on a full toss. Every batter scored crucial runs and Michael Leask’s 42* (20) got Scotland very close to the target.
New Zealand escaped, barely.
Broken Cricket Dream of the Day: The Heat
In the afternoon game, the UAE heat was evident and affected several players. Guptill, who had batted most of the first innings, was physically strained and holed out for 93. He did not field for a few overs either.
Keeper Commentary of the Day: Cross
Matthew Cross has been pretty vocal behind the stumps in this tournament, but he took it to the next level when Glenn Phillips was batting. With India & NZ competing for that elusive 2nd qualifying spot, Cross remarked to Chris Greaves, “Come on Greavo, whole of India is behind you.” Here is the video.
Australia Vs New Zealand 2021 Series Review. This series was competitive with a 3-2 result, although every match was more-or-less one-sided.
Several memorable moments though with the return of Martin Guptill’s sweet timing, Conway’s run of form, Jamieson’s rude awaking after IPL auction glory, Finch & Maxwell’s show, Ashton Agar & Ish Sodhi’s magic, & finally the spin experiment of Chapman-Phillips (wicketkeeper).
Positives for both sides with this series. New Zealand have solidified their batting order, while Australia had the chance to experiment with Big Bash performers since the South Africa-Australia series was controversially cancelled (Hence, no Smith, Warner, Cummins for this series).
Here is my series review—Results, stats, highlights, T20I World Cup squad predictions, awards, and much more!
Martin Guptill – 218 runs (best of 97, 2-50s, 59.12 SR)
Aaron Finch – 197 runs (best of 79*, 2-50s, SR 134.01)
Ish Sodhi – 13 wickets (best of 4/28, 12.07 average, 8.26 economy)
Ashton Agar – 8 wickets (best of 6/30, 14.62 average, 6.88 economy)
Australia Vs New Zealand 2021 T20I Series Stats
Martin Guptill was on the verge of being dropped. In the first T20I, even Brendon McCullum on commentary suggested this is a huge series for Guptill (only for the commentator’s curse to take place—Guptill dismissed for duck). What followed was a magnificent 97 which made him the leading six hitter in all of T20I cricket. He followed it up with 43 & 71 later in the series. Watch out—this version of Guptill could be even more dangerous.
Devon Conway continues to rise through the ranks. Hit a 99* in the first T20I. An average of 52.28 at 145.23 with 3 50s in his first 11 matches. He is here to stay and may even receive an ODI cap soon.
Ish Sodhi has never completely realized his potential. Even with leg spinners dominating international cricket for the last decade, he was always in and out of the side. A Player of the Series performance & upcoming World T20I in India should guarantee his spot in the XI.
IPL discard Aaron Finch showed why is the best T20I batsman in the world. After NZ led 2-0 in the 5 match series, knocks of 69, 79*, and 36 displayed his tough character.
Australia have a balanced squad with 2 spinning allrounders, Glenn Maxwell & Ashton Agar. Both came to the party in the 3rd T20I. Maxwell, a revelation in international cricket over the past 12 months, scored an impactful 70 (31), while Agar broke the New Zealand chase with a spell of 6/30.
Josh Philippe was the find of the series for me. Although he had already made a name for himself in the Big Bash, he finally shone at the international level providing quick starts of 45 (34) & 43 (27). Pressure on Matthew Wade when David Warner returns? (although he did score a decent 44 (29)).
We like to spice things up with our own awards for the series. Here they are:
Watch Out For
Finn Allen. Just 21 years of age, he averages 48.81 with 183.27 strike rate in domestic T20. With 6 fifties in 13 innings & a best of 92*, there are talks of him being fast-tracked for the Kiwis. With Guptill solidifying his spot & Seifert-Conway-Phillips all but certain, Allen’s prospects may have closed the door for Ross Taylor’s T20I return.
We are doing a World T20 Watch from now till the T20I world cup next year. Here is our predicted T20 XI line up and a 16-men squad as of now based on this series. Several ifs and buts at this point, but it will get clearer along the journey.
Since the T20 World Cup is scheduled in India, several spin options are considered.
New Zealand 2021 World T20 Squad – Prediction
Finn Allen is slowly rising through the domestic ranks. He was picked as an injury backup for RCB, although he has not made his international debut yet.
Martin Guptill, 2. Tim Seifert (WK), 3. Kane Williamson*, 4. Glenn Phillips, 5. Devon Conway, 6. Jimmy Neesham, 7. Mitchell Santner, 8. Tim Southee, 9. Trent Boult, 10. Lockie Ferguson, 11. Ish Sodhi
Squad: 12. Colin de Grandhomme, 13. Finn Allen/Ross Taylor/Mark Chapman, 14. Kyle Jamieson/Hamish Bennett, 15. Blair Tickner/Jacob Duffy, 156 Doug Bracewell/Scott Kuggeleijn/Adam Milne
Australia 2021 World T20 Squad – Prediction
I will put Steve Smith on the bench and start with Philippe. Several options for Australia, but time running out to settle their squad.
David Warner, 2. Aaron Finch*, 3. Josh Philippe (WK), 4. Glenn Maxwell, 5. Marcus Stoinis, 6. Ashton Agar, 7. Mitchell Marsh, 8. Pat Cummins, 9. Daniel Sams/Jason Behrendoff/Mitchell Starc, 10. Josh Hazlewood/James Pattinson, 11. Adam Zampa
Squad: 12. Steve Smith, 13. Matthew Wade (WK)/ Alex Carey (WK), 14. Jhye Richardson/Riley Meredith/Sean Abbott, 15. Kane Richardon/Andrew Tye, 16. Cameron Green/Moises Henriques
Wildcards: Marnus Labuschagne, Ben McDermott (WK), D’Arcy Short, Andrew Tye, Tanveer Sangha, Ashton Turner, Nathan Lyon
Where Do They Go From Here?
New Zealand travel to Bangladesh for 3 T20Is and 3 ODIs, starting March 19th. Several of the players will stay for IPL 2021. Finally, in July the Test squad will travel to England for 2 Test matches as well as the (not) much awaited WTC final.
Australia meanwhile are done for now till the World T20 later this year (unless fixtures are added). They won the ODI series against India 2-1, but went on to lose the T20I series 1-2, Test series 1-3, & this series 2-3. Also had the controversial South Africa series cancelled. Time for some much needed rest.
What did you think about the Australia Vs New Zealand 2021 series? What are your World T20 line ups? COMMENT BELOW, and let us know what you think!
Image Courtesy: Martin Guptill – YellowMonkey/Blnguyen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons