How to watch, stream, teams, updates from Aaron Finch in Cairns
Australia got a crucial breakthrough in the first ODI against New Zealand as a diver Glenn Maxwell snatched a shot from Martin Guptill in the air and sent the Kiwi on their way.
After being sent to bat, New Zealand are 1-88 after 22 overs with Kane Williamson (27) and Devon Conway (44) at the crease.
Guptill tossed a Mitchell Starc delivery out of his pads but found Maxwell’s outstretched left hand who made no mistakes as Guptill went for 6 of 19 and left the Kiwis at 1-10.
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It wasn’t the first time Guptill had been dispatched by Starc either.
The Aussie thought he had gotten an early wicket when he sent out a delivery that appeared to catch the outside edge of Guptill’s bat and made a noticeable sound, as the umpire raised his finger.
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However, Guptill immediately decided to review the decision and it was a wise move to do so.
DRS showed the ball had missed the outside edge of the Kiwi and the noise was from his bat slashing the inside of his cushion, as Guptill lived to see another.
The Australians thought they had another wicket in the eighth when a ball from Josh Hazlewood would have nicked Devon Conway’s glove at the loud calls of the hosts, but Paul Reiffel didn’t give it away.
Australia elected to review the appeal, but it was lost as the ball did not catch Conway’s glove or bat.
Australia won the coin toss and opted to play first against New Zealand in the first One Day International of the series in Cairns.
TALKING POINTS: ‘Horrible’ attitude Australians ‘can’t afford’
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Alex Carey (wk), Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
New Zealand XI: Martin Guptill, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (c), Tom Latham (wk), Daryl Mitchell, Michael Bracewell, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
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It will be a huge opportunity for skipper Aaron Finch as he looks to find some form ahead of a huge summer of cricket.
World Cup winner Brad Hodge has come to Finch’s defence, saying the form book against Zimbabwe should be ‘thrown in the Yarra’ and the captain under siege supported until the World Cup T20.
The pressure on Finch mounts day after the once-destructive hitter had a horrific One Day International streak against Zimbabwe, managing just 21 runs to seven.
His failures came after finishing the short series against Sri Lanka with consecutive ducks in the ODIs.
Zimbabwe’s first win against Australia Down Under only increased the pressure on Finch, with the out-of-form captain taking some of the blame ahead of the three-game series with New Zealand starting in Cairns on Tuesday (EST).
The latest setback came after George Bailey came to Finch’s defense while the two-time World Cup winner, who led Australia to their first T20 crown late last year, said that he was looking forward to spending time in the middle.
His sacking on Saturday, where he was stuck in the crease as he tried to defend a good length from left hander Richard Ngarava for five years, saw Kerry O’Keeffe urge Finch to release the shackles and play his natural game .
“He’s a striker who’s been out three times in defense, so against (Trent) Bolt and (Tim) Southee, (who are) just around the corner, he has to attack them,” O’Keeffe told Fox Cricket.
“They throw balls that you have to defend and his defense is flawed at the moment. I think he has to throw caution to the wind; don’t fear failure and go out there and play his trademark ground shots.
Hodge, however, offered another view, believing that the 35-year-old was simply going through a period of leanness because it was difficult to get up mentally for the intermediate clashes and would have focused all his attention on delivering to the next. T20 World Cup home of the month.
“I know Finchy, and I know him well personally, and I can tell you straight away that he will be on fire when the time comes for the T20 World Cup.
“When you’ve played so much cricket and your eyes are on a huge trophy like that, you’re preparing for that moment. So, in a way, what happens before that is irrelevant.
“I know we’re looking within and saying, ‘OK, well, the leads aren’t there’, but your mind is already pierced by this big event.
“And how many titles has he won, so Finchy is a two-time World Cup winner, right? So his mind is surely set to be incredibly ready to be a three-time and two-time World Cup-winning captain. “And I would be if I were him.
“If you’re worried about form against Zimbabwe, you might as well pick him up and throw him in the Yarra because it’s pointless. He’ll be ready and ready to go. First game.
Finch’s position is one of the latest talking points regarding the composition of Australia’s defense at the World Cup.
After naming a stable squad, with uncapped Tim David replacing leg spinner Mitch Swepson, there’s little room to move.
But Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis have both managed to strike at the top of the order, while any change in formation could also allow David to enter the equation.
Finch was also selected ahead of emerging stars Ben McDermott and Josh Philippe, while Josh Inglis remains in the squad but is unlikely to feature unless Wade struggles.
Hodge said the next generation of talent had had opportunities in recent months, but no one had taken them.
“I guess that’s the point, isn’t it?” Because we saw a number of players getting chances against Sri Lanka as well, some young players, and they weren’t quite successful,” he said.
“Josh Inglis is probably the one who did it and was in the middle role.
“So when it comes to those players, it’s tough when you get to the top. If you’ve had chances and you haven’t quite made it, you probably tend to go to someone who has done it many times before – and it’s Aaron Finch, and I’ll be supporting him as well.
Hodge added that Finch’s leadership could not be underestimated.
“Yeah, there’s that, he’s also a student of the game,” said Hodge, who played alongside Finch for years for Victoria and the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash.
“He is well-educated and well-educated in how he thinks things should be on the pitch. He’s a trendsetter. Very good communicator with his players on the pitch, good communication with the players off the pitch as well, and the technical staff, so he has a lot of good relationships within the team. It is important. There is a lot of respect in this space.
“So I guess the last kind of puzzle, and the other thing is it has a gun side to it – and that helps. When you have superstars around you, they also think for themselves. And it puts a lot of trust and faith in them to make decisions and get them done.
Hodge, who won the World Cup with Australia in 2007, said Finch’s “grounding” was a refreshing and important aspect that also went under the radar.
“The other thing with Finchy is he’s very grounded,” Hodge said. “He didn’t promote in any particular space.
“He’s not going to push what he’s good at. He’s a strong character.
“He doesn’t have to present he’s a good captain, he doesn’t have to push when he’s down. He backs him up with what he knows best and he does it and that’s his leadership. This adds another 10% to the squad.