AUS vs NZ 1st ODI: Shaken Australia face stern New Zealand test in Chappell-Hadlee series
AUS vs NZ 1st ODI: Before starting a three-match ODI series against a strong New Zealand on Tuesday, Australia skipper Aaron Finch will be hoping that Saturday’s disaster against Zimbabwe has acted as the team’s ideal wake-up call.
The COVID-19 epidemic and the ensuing travel restrictions prevented the trans-Tasman rivals from playing in the Chappell-Hadlee series for the past two years.
New Zealand, the top-ranked ODI team at the moment, entered with a full roster and had only dropped one of their previous 12 Super League games.
Australia under Finch are still reeling after their five-wicket loss on Saturday in Townsville, which prevented them from sweeping Zimbabwe in the series.
“They’re a fantastic unit, they have been for a long time,” Finch told reporters on Monday.
“They continue to be one of the benchmarks in world cricket in all three formats of the game. And the fact that they’re number one in ODI cricket at the moment is testament to that.”
Few would have more at risk in the series than the Australia skipper, who is currently experiencing a protracted period of poor performance.
In the series against Zimbabwe, the opener scored 21 runs overall. In 11 one-day innings, he scored 164 runs overall, including a fifty.
“Obviously the performances personally haven’t been there in terms of the output of runs. But still feel like I’m a pretty good player,” he said.
“You’re always looking to improve and I think being able to train consistently. And keep tinkering with my game to get better is the most important thing.”
Williamson, who missed the most recent two ODIs in the West Indies due to a quad injury. He claimed his chronic elbow issue has also healed, allowing him to train for longer.
Williamson was not taking anything for granted despite their great form.
“Always a really tough challenge, they are very clinical, certainly in their own backyards,” the 32-year-old told reporters.
“It’s great to be over here and playing in another Chappel-Hadlee series as well.
“There are three one-dayers in a pretty quick time. And that for us as a white-ball unit is a lot to gain from.”