The Trans-Tasman T20 series between New Zealand and Australia is heading towards a thrilling finale in Wellington on Sunday. Australia have fought back well from a 0-2 deficit, claiming strong wins in the last two contests, to force a live 5th and final T20 match on Sunday to decide the series. Can the Aussies keep the momentum going or will the Kiwis bounce back? The Wolf gives his thoughts and best bets for the 5th T20 match below.
The Australians have certainly found their groove with back-to-back wins in Wellington to force a decider in the T20 series. Their success has been on the back of a return to form from skipper Aaron Finch. By providing a solid base to their batting, the Aussies have been able to post good scores and defend them fiercely in the last two contests, and that will be the blueprint they’ll be looking to follow into this decider.
While Finch has been good, there have been contributions from a number of batsmen with Josh Philippe looking classy, while Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis have shown moments of their awesome fire power. The likes of Mitch Marsh and Matthew Wade haven’t even really got going yet, just to underline the strength of this batting lineup. It’s taken a little while for them to find their mojo, but I’m happy to back Australia to continue the momentum in the 5th T20.
By contrast, the Kiwi batting has struggled in the last two run chases. Martin Guptill is such a hit or miss player, and Kane Williamson hasn’t really got going this series. The inclusion of Riley Meredith has definitely got the Kiwis jumping and Ashton Agar is improving after missing the entire Big Bash through injury.
The Aussies are starting to gel, and they’ll be able to close out this series with a victory on Sunday!
With the series on the line, it’s fair to say, this is a big game. And when it’s a big game, that typically means the big-time players step up. We’re backing both skippers to do that on Sunday.
Aaron Finch has regained some form and we’re expecting to see that newly-found confidence continue. With back-to-back half centuries, Finch has a point to prove, and wants nothing more than to win this series. Rather than gamble on him being the top run scorer, and risk him against another whirlwind Maxwell innings, I think Finch is a good chance to get off to a strong start at least, so the run line of over 23.5 runs looks attractive.
We’ll also back Kane Williamson to stand tall on Sunday. It’s been a bit of a lean series for Williamson, with just one half-century and an average of 20.50 striking at 124.24. Not the sort of numbers we’d expect from one of the world’s finest batsmen.
Williamson is the rock that the Kiwis bat around, and it’s that stability that they’ve been lacking this series. So look to him to accumulate a big score while the fireworks are let off at the other end. At a price of $3.75, I’m happy to take the value on Williamson to lead the Kiwi run scorers.