6pm – FINCH VICTORY DELAYS BRUTAL BOULT BATTLE
The anthems are done and dusted – which means we are ready to play cricket under only moderately ominous skies.
And the best news for Aaron Finch is that having won the toss, he’s delayed his battle with Kiwi paceman Trent Boult – who would be licking his lips at the prospect of bowling under lights at a gloomy SCG.
Finch revealed yesterday he employed the artificial left arm of New Zealand’s greatest wicket-taker to try and avoid being humbled by Boult on the World Cup launching pad.
Finch admits Black Cap quick Boult has dominated him over the years but revealed focused sessions with kiwi great and now Aussie assistant coach Daniel Vettori has mimicked the left-arm destroyer ahead of tonight’s clash.
Boult nailed Finch lbw in the third over of last month’s series in Cairns to effectively draw the curtains on the Aussie captain’s stellar ODI career, and the winner of the gripping new ball clash at the SCG could be game-defining.
5.30pm – FINCH WINS TOSS, AUSTRALIA BOWL FIRST
– By Ben Horne
Australian captain Aaron Finch’s incredible hot streak winning the toss has continued, with the defending champions once again electing to bowl first and chase in the World Cup opener against New Zealand at the SCG.
Selectors have locked in the XI that has been long anticipated, with Aaron Finch opening the batting, Tim David replacing Steve Smith from the last World Cup in the middle-order, and the Australian Test attack partnering Adam Zampa as the bowling options.
Finch has won five of his past six tosses in the six warm-up matches in Australia and also won six out of seven at last year’s World Cup where chasing was critical to the results.
The toss should be less decisive in Australian conditions than they were in the UAE last year, but the Aussies are certainly comfortable as chasers.
New Zealand has dropped a surprise by dropping experienced star opener Martin Guptill from its XI to face Australia, as the kiwis chase their first win against their trans-Tasman rivals on Australian soil since 2011.
Rain is forecast at the SCG, but has stayed away so far with play anticipated to start on time as a sold out crowd builds.
“There’s a few clouds around, but we feel as though the wicket gets better and better as the game goes on,” said Finch.
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson said he would’ve also have opted to chase had he won the toss.
“We would’ve had a bowl as well for very similar reasons,” he said.
Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
New Zealand: Devon Conway, Finn Allen, Kane Williamson (capt), Glenn Philips, Mark Chapman, Jimmy Neesham, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
5.10pm – AUSSIE ICON MOBBED BY FANS
He’s still got it.
Ricky Ponting hasn’t played for Australia in over a decade, but the great man still has that pulling power.
Australia’s leading ODI and Test run-scorer is at the SCG as part of a celebration of Australia’s white-ball heroes from years gone by (see story below) and was mobbed by fans as he attempted to enter the ground ahead of tonight’s T20 World Cup match.
5pm – RAIN THREATENS AUSSIE OPENER
Australia’s World Cup defence starts at the SCG tonight – well, fingers crossed anyway.
We are half an hour away from the toss and Sydney’s fickle weather looks like it is going to wreak havoc on the opening fixture of the Super 12s section of the tournament.
There’s no rain – yet – but there are ominous clouds floating around the SCG, and the forecast is decidedly grim from the Bureau of Meteorology.
There’s a 70 per cent chance of rain for the rest of the evening – including a potential thunderstorm – as La Nina makes her presence felt on the T20 World Cup.
Australia coach Andrew McDonald said the weather could even impact the way he selects his team tonight.
“We’ve been around cricket long enough to know that we’re going to have to plan for situations of weather,” McDonald said on Thursday.
“We had a hypothetical discussion today around that; with a shortened game, would that change our team? So it’s always on your mind.
“You plan for pretty much every scenario, most of these players have played shortened games.
“The only question would be if it was to intervene, what does it look like in terms of our team structure? Does that change?
“Hopefully fingers crossed we don’t get any weather and the crowds flocks in.”
GREATS STORM SCG TO SPEARHEAD AUSSIE WORLD CUP SUPPORT
– By Ben Horne
Aaron Finch’s team will only need to glance up to the grandstand for a glittering reminder of the extraordinary World Cup legacy they’re fighting to leave for Australian cricket.
Cricket bosses Nick Hockley and Todd Greenberg have organised a special reunion at the SCG on Saturday for any player who has ever won a white ball World Cup for Australia.
The Waugh brothers, Darren Lehmann, Michael Bevan, Brad Haddin, Tom Moody, Andy Bichel, Jimmy Maher and Greg Dyer are among the greats expected to attend.
Australian cricket has been accused of not doing enough to organise reunions, but Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association have worked hard to try and pay tribute to those from 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015 who have built a World Cup empire the envy of the rest of the world.
Of course the 2021 T20 world champs will be out in the middle, but they have an opportunity to claim another title to one day toast themselves.
“We don’t do a lot of reunions. We do a few at state level at times, but it’ll be good to get all the former players back together and enjoy each other’s company and then enjoy the game out at the SCG,” said Mark Waugh.
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Originally published as T20 World Cup 2022: Australia v NZ live score, scoreboard, teams, TV stream: Aaron Finch wins toss