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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Australia's Agar expects another run-fest in T20 final at Eden Park

New Zealand coach Hesson rejects call to scrap T20 internationals, saying: 'There's always a workload issue, I think that's fair, but there's also a revenue generation issue'.

Ashton Agar of Australia signs autographes for the crowd during the International Twenty20 series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 10. Mark Kolbe / Getty Images
Ashton Agar of Australia signs autographes for the crowd during the International Twenty20 series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 10. Mark Kolbe / Getty Images

Australian spinner Ashton Agar said Monday that Eden Park's notoriously short boundaries mean another run-fest is likely in this week's Twenty20 tri-series final against New Zealand.

Australia completed a world-record run chase to overhaul New Zealand's 243 at the Auckland ground last Friday in a match that featured 32 sixes.

They go into Wednesday's decider as favourites after winning all four of their round-robin matches, and Agar said the "amazing" result had further boosted their belief.

"It was great for us to take confidence out of chasing a record total, knowing we can do that," he said.

"We've had the right guys firing at the right times now and I think we're ready to put together a really good performance again."

Eden Park more closely resembles a rectangular pitch than traditional cricket oval, and the Australian spinner described the layout as "unique".

Agar said bowling there was the hardest challenge he had faced in T20 cricket but he had accepted batsmen were going to go after him at the ground.

"If I get hit I've got to turn around, keep a smile on my face and try my best with the next ball," he said, adding that "some people are going to get away to a flyer here".

Agar said containing New Zealand's in-form openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro would be a key element in the final.

The pair took full advantage of the ground's tiny dimensions to score 105 and 76 respectively last Friday, only for Australia's batters to produce similar pyrotechnics and claim the win.

Meanwhile, New Zealand coach Mike Hesson defended international Twenty20 cricket after his English counterpart called for it to be cut from the sport's crowded calendar.

Hesson acknowledged England coach Trevor Bayliss' concerns about burnout among players and staff but said T20 had an important role to play internationally.

"There's always a workload issue, I think that's fair, but there's also a revenue generation issue," he told reporters.

"In some countries that's not as big a deal but for New Zealand Cricket, to get 35,000 people to Eden Park is huge for us, huge for the game and huge for the promotion of the game."

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Hesson also rejected the notion that T20 internationals were not meaningful fixtures.

"Too right they are," he said. "You've got guys that only play T20 and that's their chance to play international cricket, so I think absolutely it's meaningful."

Bayliss sparked the debate after his side failed to qualify for the trans-Tasman T20 series final, despite beating New Zealand by two runs in Hamilton on Sunday.

The Australian, who was appointed as England's head coach in all forms of the game in 2015, questioned the wisdom of retaining the T20 format at the top level, citing the burden on top players and coaches.

Instead, he suggested administrators could ease international fixture congestion by leaving T20 to domestic competitions such as India's Indian Premier League and the Australian Big Bash League.

"I wouldn't play T20 internationals, I'd just let the franchises play," Bayliss told Sky Sports.

"If we continue putting on so many games there'll be a certain amount of blowout, not just players but coaches as well."

Bayliss, who has coached in both the IPL and BBL, said any international T20s should be held in a limited window based around the ICC's T20 World Cup.

"If you want to play a World Cup every four years or whatever it is, maybe six months before you get the international teams and let them play some T20 internationals," he said.

Colin Munro scored 57 runs in a big-hitting innings that included seven sixes and three fours at Hamilton. Hannah Peters / Getty Images
Colin Munro scored 57 runs in a big-hitting innings that included seven sixes and three fours at Hamilton. Hannah Peters / Getty Images

England have struggled for form in the T20 tri-series, missing key players in the wake of the Ashes and one-day international series in Australia.

They edged past New Zealand with a two-run victory in Hamilton on Sunday but failed to qualify for Wednesday's final against Australia due to an inferior run rate.

The tourists still have a Test and one-day series to come in New Zealand and Bayliss said coaching all three formats on such a marathon tour was challenging.

He said it made sense to split coaching duties between different formats.

"If you go to a swimming tournament you've got 1,500m specialists and 100m specialists," he said. "I think it's definitely the way it's heading, not just with the players."

Bayliss announced last month that he would step down as England coach when his four-year contract ends next year.