The New Zealand Black Caps and the Australian Baggy Green Caps, who met in last year’s World Cup Final, go head to head in the third and concluding game of their ODI series at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Monday, with everything to play, as they are tied at one victory each.
After the Kiwis crushing 159-run victory in the opening fixture at Eden Park in Auckland, it was something of a surprise that the tourists hit back in match two to square the series with a four wicket success at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
New Zealand will be extra keen to win the decider in Hamilton, as the match will be Brendon McCullum’s last ODI appearance for his country. He will go into complete international retirement at the conclusion of the Test series against Australia that follows the ODIs.
Perhaps surprisingly for a series being played with two such destructive and powerful batting lineups, the highest score in the two games so far, was David Warner’s 98, which he scored off of 79 balls in Wellington. The bowlers, against all expectations in general, have been able to contain the batsmen to a degree that was totally unexpected.
Seddon Park has proved a happy hunting ground for the Black Caps in previous ODIs staged there, with 14 wins from the 22 games to date. The highest scorer at the venue, is the retiring McCullum, who has accumulated 528 runs there in 14 ODIs, averaging an impressive 66.
The Australians will hope that Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and George Bailey can find some form with the bat, to give them the strength of runs through the batting order, that they had been able to post in the recent home series against India.
In front of a packed house in Hamilton, they look likely to need to be at their best to prevent the Kiwis securing the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy on Waitangi Day.