Wednesday, June 12, 2013

UPDATED: A late night beckons

UPDATE: The Australian side has been further weakened for tonight's match;  Cricinfo reports:

David Warner faces sanction from Cricket Australia after reportedly being involved in an alcohol-related incident in England. Cricket Australia confirmed it was investigating the matter and while it was yet to announce a punishment on Wednesday afternoon Australian time, the ABC reported Warner had been stood down from Wednesday's ODI against New Zealand in Birmingham.
"We are aware of reports regarding an incident involving David Warner in England," Cricket Australia tweeted. "CA is investigating and will be commenting further soon."
Details of the incident are unclear but further controversy is hardly what Warner needs after he was fined A$5750 last month over a Twitter spat with two Australian journalists. Warner has also been struggling for runs since arriving in England, having made ducks in both the Champions Trophy warm-up games and 9 in the loss to England. 

Oh dear. That's Strike Two for the Australian opener, after his bizarre Twitter rant last month. It's hardly the best preparation for the most important series of his cricketing career.


New Zealand plays Australia tonight in their second pool match at the ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Cricinfo previews the match:

At the last Champions Trophy, Australia beat New Zealand in the final to secure their second consecutive title. This year, the two teams meet with Australia's tournament all but on the line. A loss in their opening match against England has left the Australians vulnerable and should they lose to New Zealand, they would not only have to beat Sri Lanka next Monday but they would also need England to lose their remaining two matches to have any hope of scraping through to the semi-finals. Even then, it would come down to net run-rate. Should New Zealand win their progression is not certain, although it would take a similarly intricate series of results for them to miss out to England and Sri Lanka on net run-rate. An Australian victory would keep things fairly even throughout the group. 

Both sides have injury concerns; read on:

However, the Australians will need to overcome New Zealand without their captain Michael Clarke, who has been ruled out due to a back injury that has plagued him since he arrived in England. The more significant long-term worry will be his availability for the Ashes which follow after. David Warner is a real concern as well, having scored ducks in the two warm-up matches, followed by 9 against England. New Zealand's cordon will be well advised to be on high alert early in Warner's innings, given the way he has been slashing and edging of late.
New Zealand also have an injury concern around a senior player, with Daniel Vettori likely to miss out having had a saline injection in his troublesome left Achilles tendon. "You only have to look at him. He's limping and is a bit ginger walking around the field," the New Zealand fast bowler, Kyle Mills, said on Monday. "He's been doing it since his teenage years at this level and his body is tired. He shows tremendous toughness and hopefully he can rise to the occasion for these next games to get us over the line. He looked jovial getting his toast and cereal at breakfast this morning, but there's obviously a lot of discomfort." 

We reckon that Australia is there to be taken tonight. The batting looks fragile with no Clarke, Ponting or Hussey, who have broken New Zealand hearts so often. David Warner and Shane Watson are out of nick, and if the New Zealand bowlers can get the ball to swing they can put huge pressure on the Australians.

The Australian side's bowling certainly looks stronger than its batting. But the New Zealand batsmen looked in pretty good touch against England in the recent ODI series, and if that confidence can be carried through, that's where the match could be won.

New Zealand will go into the match as favourites, and they aren't trying to pretend otherwise. That's good; there's nothing wrong with being confident, provided you don't underestimate your opponent. On the other hand, this is a must-win match for Australia, and they will doubtless play it as such.

This should be an excellent match, and we feel a late night coming on. So if nothing appears on Keeping Stock before breakfast tomorrow morning, you'll know that we were doing our patriotic duty, and supporting the Black Caps! Best of luck to the team; here's a great chance to get one over the West Islanders.


gravedodger said...

No Lasith Malinga should assist the cause. That looping slower full toss is a bitch, poor old Kane Williamson was like a kid whose icecream fell off the cone.
I wonder if he thought it was above waist height but must have known where it hit him even slow would have hurt.
Bet Dan wished he had still had the review.

pdm said...

I am stuck in a motel in Stratford with no coverage so will have to follow on Cricinfo and fiddle round to see if I can get a live stream.

Johnson is the big danger with the ball - he is a 5 for 20 or none for plenty type bowler and we just hope this is not his day.

GD I think you got it right re Williamson and the Waist high issue. Reminded me a bit of the ball that clean bowled John Bracewell some years ago.