Marcus Stoinis scored a stunning 150 not out in the 1st ODI    Getty Images
Marcus Stoinis scored a stunning 150 not out in the 1st ODI Getty Images

Having lost their stand-in captain for the remainder of the series following the narrow defeat in the first One-Day International (ODI), Australia will be desperate to level the three-match series against the on-song New Zealand. The 6-run victory which New Zealand registered in the series opener was their ninth on the trot at home across formats, and Australia will need a far better performance across departments to get at level with the Kiwis, who have played aggressive cricket ever since they returned home from the previous Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. Australia are without several key players including Matthew Wade, and the stand-in captain Aaron Finch faces the challenge of avoiding a series defeat as well as resurrecting his ODI career.

The second ODI will be played at the McLean Park in Napier, a venue where the visitors will be playing after 7 years. Australia have so far played 4 ODIs here, losing 2 and winning as many. However, their mixed record will have no bearing on their fortunes on the game to be played on Thursday, with the Kiwis eyeing to extend their winning momentum and the Australians aiming to put up a better performance across areas. Australia made far too many errors and despite the heroics from Marcus Stoinis, they fell short and now stand the danger of losing the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in Kiwis backyard for the second consecutive time.

New Zealand will feel they have all the firepower and momentum on their side to clinch the series in their favour. Their batsmen have been going all guns blazing, and it is not all up to Kane Williamson alone to make a difference. Martin Guptill looked back to his best at the top, but he has been ruled out of the second ODI. Dean Brownlie has been added into the Kiwis squad. Tom Latham is not known for being subdued for long. At No. 3, Williamson will continue being the anchor and try and make others bat around him.

The form of Neil Broom and Jimmy Neesham has come as a blessing for the Kiwis, who look a formidable batting unit with their tail wagging more often than not. The bowling too has been enriched by the addition of Lockie Ferguson, whose knack of striking at regular intervals takes a great deal of pressure off Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

On the other hand, dropped catches, ordinary effort with the ball and an embarrassing batting collapse showed Australia in poor light; far off from their impressive showings at home against Pakistan. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood both were punished at the Eden Park at Auckland.

Peter Handscomb looked undercooked filling in for Wade as a wicketkeeper, as he dropped two catches and kept making errors behind the wickets throughout the New Zealand innings. With Wade ruled out for the remainder of the series, Handscomb will continue as the wicketkeeper and he will have to do a better job than what he did in the first game.

Standing-in for the stand-in Wade for this New Zealand tour, Finch showed good captaincy skills by juggling his bowlers and saving plenty of overs for James Faulkner and Hazlewood to bowl towards the end. However, all of this became redundant once Australia collapsed to 67 for 6 chasing 287 a target which was not even a daunting one at the ground that had small boundaries.

For obvious reasons, the spotlight will be on Stoinis, whose all-round skills nearly took Australia to a surprise victory in the previous game. Stoinis, a batting all-rounder, bowled an impressive spell of 10 overs unchanged to take 3 for 49. He accounted for Guptill, Williamson and the dangerous Colin Munro. With the bat, he produced one of the finest innings in ODI run chases, registering a belligerent 146 not out off 117 balls with 11 sixes and 9 boundaries.

Despite the absence of David Warner and Steven Smith in their batting line-up and a collapse, Australia were served well with the depth they carried into the first game. However, with a series defeat dangling on their heads, the seniors in Finch, Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell will have to show more gumption and take Australia as far as they can.

Squads:

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Neil Broom, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Mitchell Santner, Jimmy Neesham, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Matt Henry.

Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb (wk), James Faulkner, Sam Heazlett, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Billy Stanlake, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa.

Time: 14:00 local | 06:30 IST | 01:00 GMT)