Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2020
Australia picked up an expected win over Australia in the first ODI of this series in Sydney on Friday. It was a game played in the looming shadow of COVID-19, meaning that there were no fans on hand in the ground to support the home side in their victory. This eerie spectacle will be repeated for both the second ODI in Sydney and for the third out in Hobart on March 20.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Australia rattled off a score of 7/258 from their 50 overs. David Warner top-scored for the hosts with an impressive 67 off of 88 balls, while Ish Sodhi was the most impressive bowler for the Black Caps as he too figures of 3/51 from eight overs.
The New Zealand reply really just never got on track in this contest. Martin Guptil stroked 40 from 73 balls, but with Pat Cummins decimating the New Zealand attack with numbers of 3/25 from his eight overs, the tourists were only able to put up a score of 187 before being dismissed in the 41st over.
The middle-order is still a problem for Australia. We knew this coming into the first ODI and nothing that happened in that game will have made the selectors feel any better about their battling situation after their stars are dismissed.
The Aussies fell from 145/1 to just 258 when their overs ran out, even though they had 21 overs to build on the platform. This is a team that needs the likes of Aaron Finch and David Warner to be at their best each time out because if you can get those two – and Steve Smith – early, then you can remove the Aussies for a low total.
What Australia did do well on Friday, however, was bowl the ball. Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa each claimed three wickets, but don’t be shocked if another spinner – perhaps Ashton Agar – joins the attack for the second ODI.
New Zealand still have serious problems when it comes to chasing scores against Australia. This was a total that they could have – and maybe should have – been able to run down with some level of comfort, but it was not to be.
A combination of bad wickets losses, badly timed wicket losses, and a run chase that just never really got going, all put pay to any chance the Black Caps had at running down this score. It is hard to see any changes in their side as the bowlers were very effective, but it is worth noting that Lockie Ferguson has been placed in isolation due to the Coronavirus and his eligibility has to be in doubt.
The Aussies are way too short to actually back in this game at 0.45 with BetXChange. New Zealand – on the other hand – is a team at 1.75 who are a couple of top-order wickets away from being in a great position to take down their old rivals. We like New Zealand as the underdog here at that price, especially if they get the opportunity to bat first.