A despondent New Zealand face a period of introspection on home soil after a stinging white-ball series loss against Australia rocked the Black Caps’ confidence ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Australia’s 25-run victory in the third ODI in Cairns on Sunday completed a 3-0 series sweep after New Zealand squandered winning positions in the first two matches. New Zealand’s last win over Australia in any format was back in 2011, when they grabbed a seven-run win in a Hobart Test.
With Australia set to host the T20 World Cup in October, Kane Williamson’s team have yet to find a way to beat the defending champions in their own backyard.
It was “a pretty frustrated dressing room last night”, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said. “The guys are disappointed and we’re frustrated to think of having opportunities in all three matches and not getting over the line.”
The Black Caps, beaten by Australia in last year’s T20 World Cup final in the United Arab Emirates, notched their first T20 and one-day series wins away to the West Indies last month after bullying Scotland, Ireland and Netherlands on white-ball tours.
However, they have plenty of concerns as they struggle to regenerate following the loss of key personnel to retirement and the lure of lucrative T20 leagues.
No New Zealand batsman managed a half-century through the Chappell-Hadlee series and selectors will fret over how to replace pace spearhead Trent Boult over the long term following his decision to relinquish his central contract.
Boult, who was the top wicket-taker against Australia with 10 victims in the ODI series, will continue to play for his country but have a “significantly reduced role”, New Zealand Cricket said last month.
He will be available for selection for T20 World Cup warmups against Pakistan and Bangladesh starting 8 October in Christchurch.
“He’s been a fine bowler and still is a fine bowler for New Zealand and that showed through this series against Australia as well,” said Stead.
“If Trent is there then I think we look like a stronger team but we have to make some decisions around what that looks like for us going forward as well, because we do have to keep developing our depth.”