Let’s start with a stat: since 2011, New Zealand hasn’t defeated Australia in a game in Australia. In any format. Ross Taylor was the captain then in a victorious Test. Since then Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson have reached out their hands in hope but only grasped thin air. Will Williamson get luckier this time?
Where will the match be decided?
Injuries for starters
The selection dilemma will be key as both teams have fitness concerns. New Zealand is likely to miss Daryl Mitchell, one of their heroes from the last year’s world cup, while the pace duo of Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne are also making a comeback from injuries.
Australia have already lost Josh Inglis to a freak golf injury and has taken a risk by not adding a backup for Matthew Wade, instead, they have picked the in-form all-rounder Cameron Green. David Warner raised alarms after he landed awkwardly while fielding during the second T20I against England in Canberra, and the neck injury forced him out of the final match of that series. Mitchell Marsh is battling an ongoing ankle complaint and hasn’t bowled in a T20I match since June.
Boult & Southee vs Finch & Warner
In any format, Tim Southee and Trent Boult form a formidable bowling pair. Southee will target Finch’s weakness: the nip-backer from a good length. Boult will try to cramp up Warner with the middle and leg line before dangling one across the outside off stump.
Warner was in belligerent form in the home series against West Indies and England and Finch, who was forced to retire from the ODI due to poor form, must be a relieved man after scoring a fluent fifty against India in the warm-up.
Santner vs Australia’s power-hitters
Australia’s middle order is stacked up with the power-hitters. Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David and Matthew Wade are probably the most fearsome middle-order in the tournament, and the size of the grounds doesn’t matter to them. It is highly unlikely that New Zealand will play both leggie Michael Bracewell and Ish Sodhi, which means Mitchell Santner will have a pivotal role to play in the middle overs. Given the fact that finger spinners always do better in Australian surfaces, Santner’s four overs against the Australian’s power-hitters will be a game-changer.
Adam Zampa vs Glenn Phillips
Adam Zampa is Australia’s trump card who was instrumental in Australia’s successful T20 World Cup campaign last year. His battle with New Zealand’s Mr 360 Glenn Phillips will be fascinating. Phillips is an integral part of the Blackcaps T20 set-up and is an excellent player of both pace and spin.
Australia has smoked 16 sixes in the last 3 T20Is. On the contrary, New Zealand walloped 22 sixes in their last three outings.
Australia: Since their win over New Zealand in Dubai, the Australian team played 17 T20Is, won 10, lost 10, and one match was abandoned.
New Zealand: On the other hand, New Zealand have a better record. The Blackcaps have played 19 T20Is, won 12, lost 6, and one match was washed out.
Australia XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
New Zealand XI: Fin Allen, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, James Neesham, Michael Bracewell, Micthell Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult