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QANTAS ODI TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND 2017

NZ account for Aussies, but not Superman

31 January 2017

Black Caps coach Hesson full of praise for Stoinis as tourists look to use the allrounder’s superb knock as a blueprint for coming matches

As the Australia and New Zealand squads flew south to Napier ahead of Thursday's second Chappell-Hadlee series ODI, it seemed plenty of those involved in game one were still getting their head around what had happened at Eden Park in game one.

Black Caps coach Mike Hesson was among them.

Quick Single: Marvellous Marcus has Vics raving

For the third year in succession, New Zealand's bowling plan had reduced Australia's top order to rubble, and three-quarters through the contest it looked as though Hesson's side would be savouring another comprehensive victory on home soil, having only seven weeks earlier been on the receiving end of three hidings across the Tasman.

Super Stoinis sets new all-round benchmark

But that particular narrative discounted the astonishing performance of Marcus Stoinis, whose six-laden 146no took Australia to the brink of what would have been one of ODI cricket's most outrageous heists.

"I don't think anyone expected him to play like Superman," Hesson said.

Quick Single: Stoinis a bolt from the blue to shock Black Caps

"He obviously didn't have a great Big Bash with the bat, he hadn't had any significant innings in international cricket.

"But we knew from IPL, from previous BBLs what he was capable of – well, perhaps not to that degree though.

Kiwis delighted with thrilling victory: Hesson

"He certainly came in in a very pressurised situation and played a superb innings. He's got a lot of power, and on a ground like that if you've got that power you can hit anywhere, and we saw that yesterday.

"He assessed the situation well, realised it's the sort of ground where you can catch up, and I thought he controlled the innings well and had it there for the taking at one point."

Australia debutant Sam Heazlett said the performance of Stionis, who faced 84 balls for his first 73 runs, before needing just 33 more deliveries to score his next 73, was a perfect illustration of the strategy the tourists were looking to apply to their innings.

It was a great experience: Heazlett

"He batted amazingly well. It was good to see him really set an example for what the rest of the guys can do in the next couple of matches," said Heazlett, who made four in his first outing before being Australia's sixth wicket to fall with the score at 67.

"He took his time early, played good cricket shots, then when he was in – he made it look easy at the end.

Quick Single: Perry ruled out, historic debut looms

"I guess we can take that as a bit of a blueprint for next game."

Heazlett, who echoed injured captain Matthew Wade's pre-series sentiment regarding the need for patience among the batting group and the desire to have wickets in hand at the back-end of an innings, said he had little inkling of the performance that was about to unfold during the brief time he spent in the middle with Stoinis.

Maximum Marcus Stoinis smashes 11 sixes

"I don't think anyone could have guessed how well he was going to bat and how well he was going to finish the innings," he said. 

"We were just looking to bat time and get ourselves towards the death and take it deep into the innings and see what could happen, because we knew we could get quite a few in that last 15 with the short straight boundaries.

"And he really made the most of it."

Quick Single: NZ win despite Stoinis heroics

The two sides now turn their attention to McLean Park in Napier for Thursday's day-night affair.

The venue, in the Hawkes Bay region on the east coast of the north island, presents the teams with different challenges to Eden Park in terms of its proportions, with longer straight and shorter square boundaries.

Hesson dismissed any suggestion that his bowling group had struggled against Australia, but conceded there were aspects of the series opener that didn't go to plan.

Black Caps rock Australia in Auckland

"We've just beaten the number one side in the world, so I think we're going OK," he said.

"Eden Park is a really difficult ground to defend, and if you ever want 100 off 10 overs at any ground in the world it's probably Eden Park.

"But we certainly got hit to areas that we didn't want to get hit.

"The next venue will be quite different again, and it is our ability to adapt (that will be tested), and we didn't adapt as well as we could but that's certainly an area we can work on."

Stoinis took advantage of New Zealand's weaker fifth bowling option yesterday, dispatching Jimmy Neesham for three fours and three sixes as the allrounder went for 49 from his five overs.

Hazlewood denied sensational catch in Auckland

But Hesson remained confident that Neesham, together with seamer Colin Munro and the part-time spin of captain Kane Williamson, could provide the necessary options between them to complete 10 overs.

"We've got three guys to get through 10 overs, obviously with Kane as well," he said. "But the short straight boundaries (at Eden Park) bring different bowlers into play.

"We'll look at our balance for Napier and make sure we've got that covered, but we've certainly got confidence in those guys, they've done a good job for us in the past, but occasionally you get hurt when you've got a guy going like Stoinis was going yesterday."

Heazlett, meanwhile, was unsure whether he'd be afforded a second opportunity in Australia’s middle order, with the fitness of Matthew Wade, who was withdrawn from the first match due to back spasms, at this point unknown.

"We'll see what happens for the rest of the series – if I get another go, then great," he said.

"But we'll see if Wadey comes back what happens, and we'll take it from there."

About the Writer

 @AdamBurnett09
@AdamBurnett09

Adam Burnett is senior news editor of bigbash.com.au. He previously wrote for and edited at Inside Cricket magazine and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia and The Telegraph and The Guardian in the UK.

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