The Trans-Tasman rivalry is back! The neighbours will cross swords once again for the Chappell-Hadlee trophy as the Australians take on the New Zealanders in a three-match ODI series starting with the first match on 2nd February at Eden Park, Auckland.
The last time these two teams played at this venue was in the group match of the World Cup. The shorter straight boundaries may make the batsmen smile with glee but it was the bowlers who held sway in that match. Mitchell Starc was the wrecker-in-chief for Australia while Trent Boult kept the Kangaroos hopping with his banana swing in a low-scoring game.
New Zealand will come into the series confidently having just brushed aside the challenge of Pakistan 2-0 in a three-match ODI series. Brendon McCullum is back in the fray after an injury layoff and is into the final month of his international career. The form of Marin Guptill at the top of the order is heartening while Kane Williamson will be his usual calming self in the middle order and the hard-hitting Corey Anderson will chance his arm against the inexperienced bowling line up of the visitors.
The hosts’ bowling has a varied look too with Boult, Matt Henry and Adam Milne forming the pace frontline. Mitchell Santner has come a long way in the past six months and will be their main spinner unless the late addition of Ish Sodhi makes them think of a last minute change. But, they will miss the consistency of Tim Southee with the new ball.
Despite losing the recent T20 series, Australia come into the series on the back of a 4-1 ODI series win against India at home in a series completely dominated by the bat. The score line flatters the Aussies as the Indians gifted them a couple of games that they should’ve pinched. But that series should instill some confidence that Australia can potentially chase any target down in New Zealand, especially considering the smaller grounds on offer.
Australia have an entirely different bowling unit from the last time they met with Josh Hazelwood, Kane Richardson, John Hastings and Scott Boland forming the frontline. Batting will depend on the confidence of David Warner and Steve Smith at the top while the resurgence of George Bailey could be the key. Incredibly, Australia have chosen not to include the talented Usman Khawaja in the first match, instead preferring Shaun Marsh. That is a decision they may live to regret.
The Kiwis could spring a surprise in the first match before the Aussies have had a chance to get used to the conditions. They look good value to win the first ODI at $2.22 and the series at $2.50 at Sportsbet.
Steve Smith loves scoring runs and looks good value to be the top scorer for Australia in the 1st ODI at odds of $4.20 at Sportsbet. For the hosts, the form and consistency of Williamson makes him an attractive bet as top scorer for New Zealand in the 1st ODI at $4.00 at Sportsbet.
Conditions will be the key as swing could play a vital role in the series. It is nearly six years since these two sides contested for the Chappell-Hadlee trophy in a series of its own. Which way will it go? Get ready for the excitement.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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