Qantas T20 Tour of NZ 2021
Australia refuse to blame quarantine rust for T20 defeat
The 14 days in hotel quarantine did not contribute to Australia's record loss in Christchurch, say the Aussies
23 February 2021, 07:30 AM AEST
Australia's T20 cricketers are refusing to blame their fortnight-long isolation for a first-up humbling by New Zealand.
In game one of a five-match T20 series, Aaron Finch's side were skittled in Christchurch, 53 runs short of New Zealand's 5-184.
The loss came just 24 hours after the end of their quarantine under military supervision at the city's Chateau on the Park hotel.
Players were allowed gym and training sessions during their hotel stay but ate meals alone and were not allowed to socialise or stretch their legs outside of prescribed windows.
Finch said the unusual preparation was not an excuse for the loss.
"The 14 days was pretty good to be honest. They looked after us brilliantly," he said.
"The defence force, the government, they've all been fantastic.
"We didn't play our best tonight. New Zealand just played well."
Finch endured another disappointment with the bat, driving firmly to Devon Conway at point in the first over for just one run.
Further failures will put pressure on the 34-year-old, who had a torrid KFC BBL campaign, as he looks to hold his position ahead of October's World Cup in India.
Australia's top scorer was Mitch Marsh, who came in at four and made a composed 45.
The 29-year-old said, if anything, the isolation allowed for rest and recovery.
"I felt really great coming out of quarantine. We're very lucky that we were able to train and prepare for today's match," he said.
"We all felt fantastic. Ultimately we were just outplayed by New Zealand."
The win was New Zealand's first T20 defeat of Australia on home soil.
Man-of-the-march Conway's 99 not out was his fourth huge T20 knock without losing his wicket, after finishing his domestic season with Wellington with 69, 91 and then 93 in the Super Smash final.
The Black Caps' veteran duo of Tim Southee (2-10) and Trent Boult (2-22) found swing to wreck Australia's top order.
Newly minted Indian Premier League millionaire Kyle Jamieson's (1-32) best is yet to come, while Ish Sodhi's four middle-order wickets for just 28 runs show his danger.
Marsh said if the ball keeps swinging in the land of the long white cloud, Australia will find it tough.
"They probably swung the ball for seven or eight overs which in T20 is pretty rare," he said.
"(Southee and Boult) are world-class swing bowlers ... they've done it for the last 10 years those two so we have to combat that in the next couple of games.
"We'll have a couple of days to chill and take in some New Zealand fresh air, which is fantastic, and be up and about for the next game."
Game two of the series is at Dunedin's University of Otago Oval on Thursday afternoon.
Qantas T20I tour of New Zealand 2021
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Hamish Bennett, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, *Martin Guptill (pending fitness test), Kyle Jamieson, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee. *Finn Allen (on stand-by for Guptill)
1st T20: New Zealand won by 53 runs
All matches will be shown live in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo