In the opening game of the Chappell-Hadlee ODI series, Trent Boult ripped through the heart of Australia’s top order with a brilliant burst of swing and seam bowling. His opening spell had read: 3 for 12 off five overs. Despite Boult being in good rhythm, Kane Williamson decided to not give him more than five overs upfront.
Later, in the post-match presser, Boult said with a smile on his face, “I thought of having a sixth, and maybe a seventh or eighth.” So what was the reason behind New Zealand’s reluctance to continue with their pace spearhead? On his part, Tom Latham, New Zealand‘s vice-captain, indicated that the decision was taken considering Australia’s lengthy batting order, with Glenn Maxwell slated to come in as low as number 8.
Boult was brought back into the attack only in the 29th over. However, by then, Alex Carey and Cameron Green hadn’t just repaired the early damage done by Boult and Matt Henry but also put Australia on course for a win. Boult went on to dismiss Maxwell in his second spell but it didn’t prove to be enough to turn the tide in the visiting side’s favour.
“You can look at it both ways,” Latham said in the presser. “Either you can bowl him one more over but you’ve got to look at the bigger picture, the batting line-up Australia have, they bat deep… whether you go for the kill at that moment or just hold him [Boult] back. The guys we’ve got in our line-up, whatever the situation is we back anyone to come in and take wickets.
“Whether we do that in the same situation next game or whether we do things slightly differently, that’s the way we went about it and we certainly back the guys in those situations. That’s the decision Kane decided to do… you do have to hold a few overs back every now and again and that was the decision we went with,” he added.
As the match progressed, the conditions too improved for batting, with the ball skidding on more under lights. “The wicket probably got a little bit better than what we expected, skidded on a little bit more and made batting a little bit easier. The way we were able to bowl at the top and put them under pressure was outstanding [but] unfortunately we weren’t able to create any chances through that partnership and they batted really well. Hopefully if we are in that situation tomorrow we can try and create a few more chances and get a few more wickets through the middle.”