Connect with us
[entitysport_widget id=appendHtmlForslider_widgetcricket]

World Cup 2023, AUS vs NZ: A rivalry low on hype, high on substance | Cricket


World Cup 2023, AUS vs NZ: A rivalry low on hype, high on substance | Cricket


New Zealand and Australia, separated by the Tasman Sea, regularly engage in a rivalry, much friendlier than the India-Pakistan cricket face-offs. Minus in-your-face promos, hype and hoopla, the Trans-Tasman contest, to be played 10,000 kms away on Saturday at scenic Dharmshala, doesn’t even enjoy prime-time positioning (for Indians that is) – it’s one of the only six day matches of the World Cup.

Australia's Pat Cummins and teammates celebrate the dismissal of Netherlands' Bas De Leede during their match in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023(Rahul Singh)
Australia’s Pat Cummins and teammates celebrate the dismissal of Netherlands’ Bas De Leede during their match in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023(Rahul Singh)

But the two teams standing third and fourth on the points table, would rather focus on the battle at hand and push for semi-final berths. Australia come with a much healthier 8-3 World Cup head-to-head; Kiwis have earned the right to be called modern-day ICC event heavyweights. They’ve never managed to beat Australia in India in eight previous attempts but New Zealand would like to believe that the law of averages will catch up sooner rather than later.

If momentum has a place in big competitions, Australia, with a hat-trick of wins, is riding the wave. Their previous victory against Netherlands – by a margin of 309 runs – reminded one of the great Australian teams of the 2000’s.


Glenn Maxwell rewrote the record books with a 40-ball hundred in Australia’s last game. He may not find it as easy against Mitchel Santner, second-highest wicket-taker (12) of the tournament, bowling at an economy of 4.25 an over. Maxwell will still look to threaten him with his switch-hits.

New Zealand’s only blip in the tournament came in the last match against a rampaging Indian side. Their next four matches are against – Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka; on-paper, stronger opponents. So far, they have done well in managing resources despite the limited availability of Kane Williamson, who again remains a doubtful starter. Tom Latham has led admirably.

The Australians have been equally patient while waiting for Travis Head to recover. The all-rounder batted and bowled in the nets on Friday, suggesting he may not be too far from making his first appearance. David Warner is coming off back-to-back hundreds, Mitch Marsh is scoring big too. Head’s return will once again give Australia’s top order the heft they are known to possess. Captain Pat Cummins did suggest Steve Smith may soon have to bat in the middle-order.

A day game brings its own set of challenges. “It feels a bit more like a Test match getting up in the morning and turning up here,” said Cummins. “So yeah, a little bit different to what we are used to. We’ll have a bit of a thinking if that changes anything to do with, say, the toss.”

No dew for sure, what about early morning nip? Both skippers have their thinking caps on. “So, for us it’s about trying to plan as best as we can and prepare as best we can, and prepare for all scenarios- if in the morning if it does a little bit, or in the evening if it does start to spend a little bit more,” said Latham.


Surprisingly, left-arm pacers haven’t created as much of an impression as one thought they would. A World Cup in India cannot be won with a one-size-fits-all strategy. Many of the matches have been played under baking sun and high humidity, others in more pleasant weather. Mitchel Starc and Trent Boult know very well what a day match in Dharmsala means, and would dearly hope they get to use the white cherry, first up.

At a certain stage in the pre-match media talk, the Trans-Tasman rivalry question again popped up. Cummins was asked, if he would like things to be nastier to get him going? “I think most of the Kiwis are pretty placid and we’re pretty similar,” he replied.

It served a reminder; captains are only economical with the truth in press conferences.

Another question: ‘I imagine you would have been heartbroken to see England suffer a defeat?’

“Yeah, we’ve got them in a couple of games time – so we’ll have a close look there, but yeah, it’s sad to see,” Cummins said, laughing.


Continue Reading
You may also like...
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Cricket

Most Runs Scored by


To Top