As Australia get ready to face New Zealand at Auckland’s Eden Park, Marcus Stoinis, who played one of the great one-day international innings of all time at the same venue back in January 2017, is looking forward to getting down to business where his career "pretty much started".
It was on 30 January 2017 that Australia, chasing 287 against New Zealand, slipped to 54/5 when Stoinis walked in at No. 7, and then got to 226/9 after 43 overs. Stoinis took off around that time, and added 54 runs for the final wicket with Josh Hazlewood, in which the No. 11 faced not a single ball. Stoinis ended with an unbeaten 117-ball 146 but Australia fell six runs short as Hazlewood was run out trying to help Stoinis keep the strike.
“Some good memories. My career pretty much started here so I'm excited to be back,” said Stoinis on Wednesday (14 February). “That (standing ovation) was amazing for me and very respectful from the crowd. I found out later how rare that it is so a very special moment for me.”
The 28-year-old all-rounder had made his one-day international and Twenty20 International debuts in 2015, but it was that innings which established Stoinis. Amazingly, he had spent around a year and a half out of the ODI and T20I squads, and played that match only because of an injury to Mitchell Marsh. “So to come back after 18 months and do well and help the team out, it was just a ‘thank God’ sort of thing. I'm here now and I can get a few games.”
With three wins in three games, Australia have already qualified for the final of the triangular series, where England are the third team, and Stoinis was hoping to make another statement from the middle-order. “It just plays into the brand of cricket we want to play which is fearless cricket,” he said.
“We are in the final so now we can really just continue that. You always want to face as many balls as you can. But in this team and the balance of the line-up, I think No. 6, maybe No. 5 is where I’m going to be.”