Thursday, February 24, 2011

Match Preview: Australia vs New Zealand

Trying my hand at writing a preview for the first time.

Australia vs New Zealand in Nagpur.
This is going to be one tough match for the New Zealanders following the devastating earthquake in Christchurch which has left over 100 people dead. A couple of New Zealand team support staff have rushed back home to their families. It must be really tough for the players to set their mind on a game of cricket now.
But this is a World Cup match and New Zealand have been known to punch far above their weight in World Cups (they did defeat the Aussies in 1999, among the last 2 teams to beat the Australians). The game has got an added significance with the Chappell-Hadlee series also being put on stake here. And New Zealand certainly have a great record when it comes to ODIs against Australia falling under this category. 
Form Guide
Both teams recorded comfortable victories in their opening encounters. New Zealand were ruthless against Kenya, while Australia overcame Zimbabwe after being in a spot of bother initially. Batting against spin looks a difficult proposition for the Australians, while the Kiwi batting lineup looks brittle and would undergo a severe test by the Australian pace battery of Lee, Tait & Johnson. 
If we look at recent form, Australia look a comfortable winner having just come off a 6-1 victory against England while New Zealand have lost against Pakistan, India & Bangladesh. This is also confirmed by the   Team Performance Index (182 for Australia against 163 for New Zealand). Australia outscore the Kiwis in both Batting (321-281) and Bowling (195-169). 
Likely Result
I think Australia should win but a New Zealand victory would certainly lift up the national morale a little bit. 
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