SuperSport Park, Centurion – Monday, October 5, 2009 (D/N)
On what is reported to be a good batting track the toss today will be crucial to New Zealand’s chances of causing an upset against their big brothers, Australia. If the Aussies win the toss and bat, with the form that Ricky Ponting is showing at the moment he could bat them out of the match.
When New Zealand do bowl – whether it be first or second – the new ball is crucial and cannot be wasted, for the Kiwis to stand any chance it is vital they get Ponting to the crease and then quickly back to the pavillion if they are to have any chance.
The Aussie middle order – without Michael Clarke – has struggled of late and with the only other experienced player Mike Hussey misfiring at the moment, if it could be exposed early on could buckle under the pressure like it did against Pakistan.
In the bowling department Peter Siddle has stepped in and replaced the injured Nathan Bracken to complement Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson with the new ball, so the Aussies have few weaknesses there.
For the Kiwis they have shown a good fighting spirit in this competition, their confidence must have been suffering after their recent battering in Sri Lanka so their turnaround has been quite remarkable.
Their batting looks slightly suspect and with the loss of Jesse Ryder and Jacob Oram they have struggled and you have to worry if (when) the Aussie bowlers get stuck into them how they might cope. On a positive note, Grant Elliott has shown he is a gutsy performer who can produce with the bat when the pressure is on and skipper Daniel Vettori is more than capable down the order.
The big problem is though just how early in the proceedings that Elliott and Vettori are exposed. In order to maximise their skills the top order will need to produce a solid foundation for them to build on.
In the Kiwi bowling department Shane Bond looks a massive threat and he could be the key today if he can break through with the new ball and try to get Ponting early on too. Kyle Mills is a proven One Day performer and Vettori has had another decent tournament with the ball so far taking 7 wickets.
For me though the key is Ricky Ponting, if he gets going there is only going to be one real inevitable outcome to the match.
The latest news is that New Zealand have won the toss and will bat first, in a further blow to them skipper Daniel Vettori is out injured and Brendon McCullum will captain the side, at least in Jeetan Patel they have an experienced player to step into Vettori’s shoes.
Australia – Shane Watson, Tim Paine (WK), Ricky Ponting (C), Michael Hussey, Cameron White, Callum Ferguson, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle.
New Zealand – Brendon McCullum (C & WK), Aaron Redmond, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Neil Broom, Grant Elliot, James Franklin, Jeetan Patel, Kyle Mills, Shane Bond, Ian Butler.