Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - New Zealand vs Australia: Tactical preview for the grand finale. New Zealand's only defeat came while batting first in a night game
New Zealand's only defeat came while batting first in a night game
After 44 matches, we are down to Australia and New Zealand for the grand finale clash. A deep dive into what are the key head-to-head battles, the all important toss, match-ups and what other factors could prove vital in the final outcome.
Will the match be decided half an hour before the first ball is bowled?
Aaron Finch and Kane Williamson have largely been in the shadows in the tournament thus far as far as their batting is concerned but on Sunday (November 14) evening both these gentleman will be central figures when they walkout for the toss. The reason being the chasing bias in Dubai this season, especially in night games where dew has played a big part. Of the 12 matches hosted by Dubai in this tournament, 11 have been won by the chasing team, including all nine night games. In fact, in the last 17 night T20 games in Dubai, 16 have been won by the side batting second, the only exception being IPL final.
Australia's five wins have all come when they won the toss and fielded first and the only time Finch they lost the toss, against England, they had to set a target and crashed to 125 all out, which Eoin Morgan's sided chased down without breaking a sweat. New Zealand, on the other hand, has batted first twice although both were day games. Their only defeat in the tournament so far also came when they had to set a target in a night affair.
Batting first vs chasing since Super 12
Australia's batting heavy approach vs New Zealand's bowling heavy approach
Australia have moved away from their bowling heavy approach in the lead-up to the mega event and have played an extra batsmen in Mitchell Marsh instead of Ashton Agar. Their only defeat came when they veered away from this approach and played the extra bowler in the clash against England.
New Zealand, on the other hand, have preferred a bowler heavy approach playing five specialist bowlers of whom only one – Mitchell Santner – fits into the all-rounder category. Like Australia, New Zealand's only defeat came when they opted for a different strategy – playing Tim Seifert in place of Adam Milne against Pakistan.
Going by the numbers this season, winning the Powerplay is very nearly equivalent to winning the match. Only twice in 32 matches since Super 12, the team which was decisively ahead in the Powerplay ended the day the second best. In night games in Dubai, there has been a distinct advantage for pacers in the first innings compared to the second innings.
Pacers in Powerplay in night games in Dubai
Australia is the joint-second highest in terms of wickets in Powerplay (11 wickets) while New Zealand are the second most economical team (5.89) in this phase. Australia have also been rapid scorers in Powerplay scoring 50-plus in four of the six innings so far. Finch has excellent head-to-head against both Tim Southee and Trent Boult while Warner has feasted on Southee's bowling in the format. New Zealand are yet to survive the Powerplay unscathed.
David Warner is the only left-hander in Australia's top six while the rest match-up poorly against New Zealand's spinners
Middle overs vs spin: the key battle
It's odd that in a game between two non-Asian teams that spinners would have a big say in the final result. The way the two sides handle the opposition's wrist spinners in the middle overs is very crucial given how Dubai has been favourable for spinners in this phase.
Spin in middle overs (7-15) since Super 12
Playing spin, wrist spin in particular, has been Australia's biggest roadblock in the tournament thus far. Barring Warner, none of Australia's other top six have even managed to score at a run-a-ball against spin. Australia has a top six where only Warner bats left-handed while the rest match up poorly against the New Zealand spin duo of Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner, both of whom turn the ball from right to left. Both Santner and Sodhi have a far better record against right handers than against left handers in the tournament, which makes it imperative for Warner to bat through the middle overs. Santner has bowled only three overs combined in the last two matches because of the presence of a southpaw in the middle and Warner's presence in the post Powerplay overs could force New Zealand to turn to their sixth bowler.
Australia batsmen vs spin
NZ spin duo vs RHB/LHB
Adam Zampa is the leading wicket taker in the middle overs since Super 12 and holds the equivalent threat for the New Zealand middle order. The forced absence of Devon Conway robs New Zealand of a left-hander in the middle order, and he has been their best batter against spin in the tournament. Whether New Zealand would replace him with another leftie in Mark Chapman or will they go for Seifert will be the lone selection conundrum for them ahead of Sunday's clash. Williamson, who is their best player of spin, has struggled in this tournament scoring at 81.42 against spin and has a poor head-to-head against both Zampa and Glenn Maxwell in T20 cricket: 38 balls, 37 runs, two dismissals vs Zampa and 10 balls, six runs, two dismissals vs Maxwell.
Dew factor in second innings
The two semifinals were virtually decided in the death overs in second inning in both games. The chasing sides needed 60 and 62 respectively at the end of 15th over in the two matches and on both instances the chasing side won with an over to spare. Dew factor has been most prominent in Dubai of all the three venues, and it is at its peak in the back half of the second innings. Pacers go at 12.83 in death overs (16-20) in second innings in Dubai in night matches compared to 9.44 in the first innings. Australia haven't yet bowled in this phase in the second innings in night games while New Zealand leaked 44 runs in 3.4 overs against Pakistan the only time they had to bowl in this phase.
Another decisive factor in the death overs will be the lengths fast bowlers will operate. Both the semifinals have given ample proof that bowling into the pitch is a better option than to aim for yorkers for which the margin of error is very limited and if gone wrong could be penalised heavily. The dew factor will also make it tougher to nail the yorkers accurately. Australia's bowlers are quicker compared to their New Zealand counterparts, barring Adam Milne, which gives them an extra dimension should they opt to pull their lengths back.