Qantas Tour of NZ 2018

Glowing praise for captain Warner

Stand-in skipper receives plaudits for tactical, positive leadership throughout Eden Park epic

Louis Cameron, in Auckland

17 February 2018, 04:56 PM

Richardson reflects on Eden Park epic

Stand-in T20I skipper David Warner continues to earn plaudits for his captaincy, with teammates suggesting his composure under heavy fire was a major factor in Australia's record-breaking win over New Zealand.

Warner hit out of a rare funk with the bat in a devastating 24-ball 59 to set his side on the path to their improbable victory over the Black Caps on Friday. It was the left-hander's first half-century in nine innings following a severe post-Ashes lean patch.

But while few doubted he would find his groove again with the bat, Warner has received more praise for his tactical nous in this T20 tri-series.

In the midst of a Kiwi onslaught that could have overwhelmed Australia's inexperienced T20 side, fast bowler Kane Richardson revealed a telling moment of leadership during the Eden Park carnage.

Australia had to wait almost 11 overs for their first wicket of the match, with Colin Munro's departure for a 33-ball 76 coming with the hosts flying after a 132-run opening stand between him and Martin Guptill.

Australia break world record to run down NZ

"When we got that first wicket and we ran in, (Warner) made sure everyone came in," Richardson recounted.

"He just looked around, he said, 'Boys, keep a smile on your face because this is actually enjoyable. It's ridiculous to watch but try and enjoy this'.

"As a bowler you just think, ‘I've gone for 24 off an over – how am I enjoying it?' But I think he instilled that.

"You saw Billy Stanlake bowl a really good over and it still went for 15 and he had a smile on his face after, he was almost laughing about how it went.

"You talk about expectation, there was none on us (bowlers) whatsoever. It was just, try some stuff, try some different fields and see what happens.

"That was all from David."

Watch all 32 sixes from epic clash at Eden Park

The fact Australia had not lost their nerve despite haemorrhaging runs at an unprecedented rate only became apparent towards the end of the Black Caps innings.

When Guptill was dismissed for a brilliant 105, it sparked a collapse of 4-12, which may have initially appeared insignificant as Australia conceded their highest-ever score in T20Is.

But Australia had been bracing for even worse, with Warner full of belief that New Zealand's 6-243, incredibly, might be too few.

"Even in the field, he was just telling us 'keep smiling'," said D'Arcy Short, who shared a 121-run opening stand with Warner to set the Aussies on course for victory.

Warner, Short give Aussies flying start

"Just saying we could chase anything, and keeping the boys upbeat and going through what we needed to do.

"We could have been chasing 260, 270 at the start but I think the bowlers brought it back quite well and got us to a target we thought we could chase and believed we could."

Richardson added: "When you actually look back at it, (to) keep them to 240, as silly as it sounds, that was probably the limit of us being able to chase something like that.

"If they get 270, you're never chasing that."

Warner, who led Sunrisers Hyderabad to the 2016 Indian Premier League title, remains Steve Smith's deputy in all three formats with the regular skipper sitting out the ongoing tri-series ahead of the Qantas Test tour of South Africa.

Smith has not played a T20 for Australia since the 2016 World T20, leading some to suggest Warner should be handed the reins on a full-time basis in the shortest format.

Current Australia assistant coach and former captain Ricky Ponting has previously suggested captaining the national side in all three formats could be too demanding in the long term, but Smith maintains he wants to keep the T20 job and Warner has stressed he's only filling the role on an interim basis.

And the 31-year-old has vowed to keep approaching the job with trademark vigour.

"That's what I said from day one when we first started this," Warner told Sky Sports on Friday.

"Just to have a lot of energy, have fun and keep a smile on your face. We're doing what we love and living the dream.

"We're playing cricket for our country ... it's absolutely sensational."

Trans-Tasman T20 Tri-Series

First T20I Australia beat New Zealand by seven wickets. Scorecard

Second T20I Australia beat England by five wickets. Scorecard

Third T20I Australia beat England by seven wickets. Scorecard

Fourth T20I New Zealand beat England by 12 runs. Scorecard

Fifth T20I Australia beat New Zealand by five wickets. Scorecard

Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21

Australia squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

England squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.