Eden Park at Auckland will no longer host the fourth T20 international between New Zealand and Australia. The development comes after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced new lockdown measures due to increasing cases of COVID-19. Auckland reportedly went into Alert Level 3 restrictions amid a week-long lockdown while the rest of the country stays on Level 2.
The Wellington Regional Stadium, which was already the venue for the third T20I on Wednesday, will be the stage for the subsequent fixture too. On the other hand, Mount Maunganui will host the fifth and final T20 international. The remaining three games would be played as T20I double-headers alongside the women’s series, involving the White Ferns and England.
Despite neither Wellington nor Tauranga reporting new COVID-19 cases in months, the games in Wellington will take place without crowds. However, a final decision on the attendance at the series finale would arrive in the coming days. Nevertheless, the news of Auckland’s T20Is shifting is a significant blow to the tens of thousands of tickets sold and matches involving Australia are usually blockbuster events.
New Zealand lead the five-match series after two matches:
As far as the series progression goes, New Zealand clinched two victories on the bounce to take a comfortable 2-0 lead. The Kiwis gunned down their Trans-Tasman rivals by 53 runs in the first T20 in Christchurch as Devon Conway’s 99 played a crucial role after a top-order wobble while batting first. Conway’s unbeaten knock catapulted the hosts to 184 after being 19-3 at one stage.
New Zealand opener Martin Guptill struck form in the second T20I by hammering 97 runs, top-scoring in the process to thrash 219 in 20 overs. The visitors fell four runs short despite a breathtaking onslaught by Marcus Stoinis, who made 78 and his partnership of 92 with Daniel Sams. Australia will aim to stay alive in the series, while another victory for New Zealand will seal it for them.