Australia Vs New Zealand, at the Seddon Park in Hamilton, 3rd ODI - Match Preview
The 3rd and final ODI in the Chappell-Hadlee series will also bring down the curtains on perhaps the greatest entertainer that the New Zealand cricket has ever seen. Their buccaneering captain and a thorough entertainer, Brendon McCullum will be playing his last ODI match for the Kiwis and has a chance to bow out with the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in his hands. He has played a key role in shaping this current Kiwi side with his aggressive captaincy and leading them from the front, not backing out even in difficult situations.
Australia did well to come back in the series after the trashing that they were handed at the Eden Park in Auckland and the form of Mitchell Marsh and David Warner will be please them. Usman Khawaja who replaced Shaun Marsh also scored his maiden ODI 50 and thus seems to have sealed his spot at the top of the order for Australia at least for the moment. But there is plenty to be concerned about for them as well, primarily the form of their middle order comprising Captain Steve Smith, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell. These three have tallied 20, 2 and 6 runs respectively from 2 innings each and this soft underbelly is proving to be a major headache for the Aussie team right now. They will have to lift themselves up and put up a collectively better effort if they are to win the match and the series.
New Zealand have been provided with peppy starts in both the matches thus far with them getting to 79 in the 11th and 35 in the 5th before they lost their first wicket in the 1st and the 2nd match respectively. Williamson was out for a duck at Eden Park but he duly returned to form at the Westpac with a typical half-century. The lower middle order of the Kiwis have not had much impact with the bat and players like Corey Anderson and Grant Elliott will be looking to finish the series with some runs under their belt.
On the bowling front Hazlewood has taken 5 wickets for the Aussies but it has been Hastings who has really impressed me with his control. He was also the man who got Australia over the line in the tough chase at Wellington combining with Mitch Marsh. Adam Zampa also bowled reasonably well and will look to build on his debut match.
The Kiwi bowling was impeccable and it ran through the Aussie line up in the first match but were unable to stop the inflow of runs while Warner and Khawaja ran amok with a 122 run stand off just 16 overs in the second match. Santner has been the surprise package for them thus far with the slow left arm bowler picking up 5 for 47 off the 10.2 overs that he has bowled.
This match will be the grand finale of a swashbuckling career and a great way for McCullum to bow out with a series victory over their raucous Trans-Tasman rivals.