With an almost unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-match T20 series, New Zealand will be looking to put the series against Australia beyond doubt at Wellington Regional Stadium on Wednesday evening.
But we think there is a little bit still to play out in this one!
HEAD TO HEAD
3rd March 5:00pm
Australia came agonizingly close to levelling up the series at University Oval.
Having to chase down a 219-run total set by the Black Caps, Australia fell four runs short of the required target despite the near heroics of Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams.
Stoinis (78 off 37) and Sams (41 off 15) tried desperately to salvage victory, but the Black Caps held firm late as all-rounder Mitchell Santner broke through the partnership of Stoinis and Sams late in the piece with two ultimately match-winning wickets.
Santner would finish with figures of four for 31 off his four overs to lead New Zealand to pulsating four-run triumph.
The Black Caps were brilliant with the bat yet again.
Opener Martin Guptill shook off any doubt regarding his hamstring injury leading into the series with a dominant 97 off only 50 deliveries of which he smashed eight sixes and six fours.
The story of the series thus far, though, has been the Australian top order failing to produce runs, namely captain Aaron Finch.
He continued his dip in form after a second-ball duck in the first innings following up with a meek 12-run effort in the second T20.
There is some confidence the Australians can take into this third T20 though, with Josh Phillipe finding his feet at international level.
The Sydney Sixers champion managed 45 runs off 32 balls in a sign he has put the butterflies of his debut international T20 failure behind him.
We’re prepared to give Australia one more go here.
The squad will now have fully settled into life outside quarantine and have now had two sighters on New Zealand wickets to get its eye in.
Australia did actually start the heavily backed $1.85 favourites in the second T20.
Even money on offer after that close loss looks good value for a team who was undefeated in T20 games in New Zealand prior to this series.
Suggested Bet: Australian win at $2
Suggested Same Game Multi:
Leg 1: Tim Seifert 10+ runs
Leg 2: Ish Sodhi 1+ wicket
Leg 3: Kane Richardson 1+ wicket
Leg 4: Australia Win
Combined Odds: $5.50
JOSH PHILLIPE & TIM SEIFERT
Aaron Finch and Matthew Wade are still respected by the market here despite both openers struggling for influential runs in the first T20.
Finch has only managed a two-ball duck and 12 in his opening two innings while Wade has tallied up 12 in his first knock and doubled that in the second T20.
We would be best served if we looked elsewhere to find some value and it looks to come in the form of Josh Phillipe.
His knock in the second T20 would have given him enormous confidence that his BBL 10 form is more than capable of making it international level.
He steadied the ship early for Australia in the run-chase in the second T20 after shaking off a debut failure where he was caught having only made two runs.
At $3.90, he should arguably be favourite given he is nearly a certainty to come in and have plenty of time at the crease to make runs.
Suggested Bet: Josh Phillipe top batsman for Australia at $3.90
Martin Guptill was the pick of the batsman in the second T20 after a slashing innings which accumulated 97 runs off 50 balls.
He, alongside Devon Conway, are the only batsman to score in the 90s in the first two T20s but we are going to be forgiving of Tim Seifert who has failed in both innings thus far.
Seifert was bowled for one run in the first T20 and then caught by Aaron Finch for only three runs in the second match.
His form leading up to this series was sublime.
He entered this series averaging just over 60 runs in the three T20s played against Pakistan in late 2020.
Suggested Bet: Tim Seifert top batsman for New Zealand at $4
kane richardson & ish sodhi
The second T20 was not a match for the bowlers.
Both teams scored in excess of 200 runs on boundaries that paled in size compared to regular international cricket venues but the pick of the Australians was the return to wicket taking form of Kane Richardson.
The right arm fast toiled away with the ball to take three for 43 off his four overs.
Jhye Richardson was the cheapest of the Australian bowlers but could only manage one wicket after a solid first T20 where he took two for 31 off four overs.
Adam Zampa was economical without taking a wicket in the first T20 but was unable to make a huge impact in the second match, while Ashton Agar has rarely troubled the New Zealand batting line up.
It’s time for the Australian spinners to step up and show something but we’d rather see them hit form again before backing them.
No reason why Kane Richardson cannot replicate his performance from the second match in this match.
Suggested Bet: Kane Richardson top Australian bowler at $3.60
The New Zealand spinners have this far shown their Australian counterparts up in this T20 series.
After Ish Sodhi tore apart the Australian batting attack with four for 28 in the first T20, it was left arm orthodox spinner Mitchell Santner to lead the way for the Black Caps.
Santner would take four for 31 off his four overs and most importantly take the scalps of Marcus Stoinis and Daniels Sams who threatened to derail the home team making it two from two.
Tim Southtee and Trent Boult have had moments of brilliance but the body of work put in by the Kiwi spinners is what has proved the difference thus far.
Ish Sodhi to cause headaches for Australia again.
Suggested Bet: Ish Sodhi top New Zealand bowler at $3.70