The rookie quickly fired Tim Seifert and Kane Williamson to finish with 2 for 24 in Wellington
Riley Meredith had played his first delivery in international cricket “a thousand times” in his head, so when he landed a good length at over 140 km / h to Tim Seifert in the third T20I against New Zealand in Wellington, he There was relief for the fast bowler that his Australian career was underway.
“It’s good to finally be done, I guess, a little bit of relief,” Meredith said of her debut. “I was really nervous before. Most of the day I was probably playing in my mind, [and] I’ve thought about that first ball about a thousand times, so it’s nice to put it on the pitch in a decent area and go from there. It’s good to have a few wickets and contribute to a win [by 64 runs]. “
What developed was a promising first outing, as he showed the pace that was regularly seen in the BBL – pushing the speed cannon to 150 km / h – while finishing with 2 for 24 of his four overs.
There may have been a strong catch of breath when Martin Guptill hit a straight six on Meredith’s first pass, but three balls later he was out of place as a goalkeeper when Seifert skied the ball out. -Game. As is the style of Aaron Finch, Meredith was kidnapped after another; but when he got back in the fifth he claimed one of the prize scalps by trapping Kane Williamson up front. He could have had a third if Marcus Stoinis had held Devon Conway in the depths, but overall it was a very neat performance for one of the players trying to make it to Australia’s final side in the Cup. world T20.
Deleting Williamson, he said: “It was icing on the cake, a great wicket also in the context of the game. Really happy with that one.”
Glenn Maxwell, whose 70 of 31 balls led a hitting wave in Australia, spoke alongside Meredith and said he was “horrible to face” even in practice scenarios.
“When you have a weapon like that on your team, the way Finchy used it, I found it brilliant tonight,” said Maxwell. “He was able to use him as an impact player at different stages. I think Riley’s greatest strength is that he is able to swing the ball at high speed. So once he gets that news bullet in his hands, he’s able to shape it – it’s pretty scary. “
Meredith was given her cap by Australian selector George Bailey, a former Tasmanian and Hobart Hurricanes teammate. So while the family was to be contacted by phone – as was the case with Josh Philippe earlier in the series – there were words of encouragement from someone who played a big part in her. career.
“I’ve been playing with George for about four years and we’re really close… so it was really cool,” Meredith said.
Another key performance in Australia’s impressive win was the return to form of Finch, who hit 69 balls on 44 balls after surviving a tight first take-off ball. Maxwell, who added 64 runs in six overs with Finch as the innings began to take off, knew it was only a matter of time before the runs came back.
“I don’t think he was under pressure in our locker room,” he said. “His record speaks for itself; he’s still one of the top five batsmen in the world in this format. He did enough to justify a few banknotes. It was always going to happen, he was always going to have points. ‘He’s too good a player to stay low. When you have that confidence in your team – and I hope Finchy feels it too – it was inevitable. “
Reflecting on the appeal of the first lbw ball he had against Finch, Tim Southee recognized the narrow margins involved. “He’s been having a lean little trot lately, but we know he’s a dangerous player when he goes for it and we’ve seen him tonight,” he said. “[It was] millimeters away from a different result for him but we knew he was close to a score and that shows you how fickle the sport can be – the referee gives it, he goes for another game and another low score. But it does happen and he made the most of it. “
Andrew McGlashan is associate editor of ESPNcricinfo