Australia vs New Zealand in the 5th T20 at Sky Stadium, Wellington. First ball, 10am AEDT.
Australia’s men’s cricket team isn’t just playing for a series win, they’re playing for spots on the plane to India.
The T20 World Cup is fast on the horizon and for those on the fringe, including one “lock”, it’s a chance they can’t miss to impress.
That lock, if you listen to pundits across Australia, is Mitch Marsh.
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The hard-hitting middle-order batsman was considered an important cog in the lineup by Fox Cricket pundits Shane Warne and Mark Waugh, who both thought Marsh was a shoe-in in the middle order for Australia.
But should he be?
Marsh top-scored for Australia during their heavy opening defeat in Christchurch when he made 45, but the stats don’t paint a pretty picture.
In fact, his 45 was his highest T20 score for Australia and the batting all-rounder has a mediocre average of 22.71, with a strike rate of just 116.23.
Marsh isn’t the only one who will be out to make a statement in today’s decider.
Wicket-keeper Matthew Wade needs runs, while Josh Philippe — if he’s not keeping — also needs to make a significant contribution given Steve Smith and David Warner aren’t with the side.
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It’s also a big match — if selected — for the two Richardsons — Kane and Jhye — who need wickets as well as rookie Riley Meredith.
Once again Waugh called for Australia’s selectors to be proactive and give chances to those on the “bench” in the squad.
In particular, Ben McDermott and Ashton Turner will be after opportunities, while neither AJ Tye nor Jason Behrendorff have been given an opportunity either.
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Australia’s selectors will be hoping that their batsmen can make some improvements against the spin of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sohdi, who have both had the wood over the tourists in the series.
On a sticky wicket in Wellington, Santner troubled the Australian batsmen and went for just 1-16 off his four overs.
The left-armer also troubled Australia in the second T20, where he claimed 4-31.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert, Kane Williamson, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitch Santner, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
Australia: Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitch Marsh, Ashton Agar, Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Riley Meredith