Well what a treat we have instore for us here as our Aussies head to New Zealand to take on our trans-tasman rivals in a five-match T20 series. It is a new-look squad for Australia with many young faces getting their chance to shine on the international stage.
The Australian team is captained by Aaron Finch and features the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Matt Wade and Mitch Marsh who will all bring much needed experience to a team with many young guys getting their first crack at the international level. Top performers in the Big Bash like Josh Philippe, Tanveer Sangha and Riley Meredith will all feature for the Aussies and it looks to be an exciting series between two evenly matched sides.
New Zealand will be captained by the ever-consistent Kane Williamson while the bowling duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee will once again lead the line for the Kiwis. Kyle Jamieson, who was picked up for a mouth-watering multi-million dollar IPL deal adds interest to the Kiwi side with him playing a starring role since being brought into the international set up.
New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Hamish Bennett, Finn Allen (standby)
Australia Squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa
Hagley Oval, Christchurch. 22nd February, 5pm AEDT
As mentioned, this series looks to be a relatively even one on paper and these two teams always manage to play out some tight matches and I don’t think this one will be too different. New Zealand come into this series full of confidence after a comfortable 2-0 test series win over Pakistan last month while the Aussies will be looking to bounce back after their home series loss to India. With that being said, this is a new look Australian side and they will be keen to get out and perform on the big stage.
I am expecting the Aussies to come out on top in a closely fought contest with the batsmen doing the majority of the damage. The performance of Aaron Finch is going to be pivotal in the result as the Aussie skipper has experienced a massive slump in form across his BBL campaign. Finch is a different player once he puts on the green and gold however, and I think he can bounce back to lead his team to a win here in Christchurch.
The Kiwi’s batting lineup looks relatively inexperienced outside the regulars of Kane WIlliamson and Martin Guptill but with Guptill under an injury cloud there looks to be a lot of pressure on the New Zealand top-order to perform. Coming up against an Aussie bowling attack who have been in top form in their Big Bash campaigns won’t be an easy task and I think this is where the game will be won. I am expecting Finch, Maxwell and the exciting Philippe to set the platform for a big Australian total and we all know how important runs on the board are in this format of the game.
Australia holds a 7-2 winning record over their rivals in this format of the game and have won 4 of the 5 matches played in New Zealand. This tells us that the Aussies don’t mind playing over on these wickets and historically have performed well. I think at around the $1.80 looks a fair price for Australia in this match and am keen to back them to come out on top in this one.
Glenn Maxwell lives and breathes this format of the game and is one of the world’s best T20 players. Fresh off the back of a cool $2.5m IPL contract, Maxy will be keen to find his best T20 form during this series. Maxwell was one of the few shining lights for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash season and it doesn’t matter who he comes up against, he will play his normal fearless game and win your side matches.
With the shaky form of Aaron Finch up top as well as Matt Wade and youngster Josh Philippe batting in the top order, there may be a few early wickets to fall. I’m expecting Maxwell to get a chance to bat plenty of overs and if that is the case, we know the damage he can cause with time spent at the crease. Pretty keen he can give us a good sight with the bat in hand and I think he will be raring to get his series off to a flyer.
I mentioned him earlier in the preview and I think we can all agree that Kyle Jamieson is a serious cricketer. Since joining the international side Jamieson has been a massive find for the Kiwis, having performed extremely well in the coloured clothing and now test match cricket. So much so, he was signed by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for $2.8m in the IPL auction - the fourth highest bid in the history of the IPL. Jamieson is a tall fast bowler who poses plenty of questions with his pace and bounce and I think he will trouble a few of the Australian batting lineup.
Bowling in an attack next to Southee and Boult will mean obviously there is some risk wickets will be shared around but I am thinking that many of the Australian’s will not have seen much of the tall right-arm quick and this may be the recipe to Jamieson’s success. I am expecting him to have a massive impact on this series and think he might start things off well here in Christchurch.
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