Palmerbet Sports Team preview the T20I Tri-Series opener in Sydney, with Australia looking to restore lost limited-overs pride against an in-form New Zealand.
History: Played 6: Australia 4 V New Zealand 2.
Last meeting: March 18, 2016: New Zealand d Australia by 8 runs at Dharamsala.
Final Thoughts: Australia are looking to bounce back from a comprehensive 4-1 ODI series defeat to England when the T20 Tri-Series gets underway this weekend. But highly-rated New Zealand shape as a tough opponent at the SCG.
Despite the explosion of the Big Bash League, Australia has played little Twenty20 International cricket over the past 18 months and are consequently ranked seventh. They lost a home series to Sri Lanka 2-1 last summer and secured a tied 1-1 series result in India midway through 2017.
New Zealand are ranked second in the world, recently losing the No.1 spot thanks to a 2-1 series loss to new top dogs Pakistan on home soil last month. That came on the back of a 2-0 obliteration of the touring West Indies, while the Black Caps went down 2-1 to India in India in November. They swept Pakistan and the Windies in recent home ODI series.
Australia have rested Steve Smith, meaning the out-of-sorts David Warner will captain a side featuring the in-form Aaron Finch, exciting new caps D’Arcy Short and Kane Richardson, and the recalled Glenn Maxwell.
NZ’s hopes rest on big-hitting trio Colin Munro, Martin Guptill and Colin de Grandhomme, skipper Kane Williamson, and spin duo Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, who are rated No.1 and 3 in the T20 bowling world rankings.
The trans-Tasman rivals have only clashed once at T20I level in the past seven years, with the Kiwis snaring an eight-run win during the 2016 World T20 tournament in India. New Zealand have struggled on Australian soil across the board in recent times and have not won in Sydney in any format since an ODI upset in 2002.
The Black Caps’ lofty standing isn’t a fluke and they look good value as $2.23 outsiders, but the SCG factor gives Australia a significant edge. Finch has been ruled out with injury, handing D’Arcy Short – who plundered a record 504 runs in 10 BBL innings this season – a debut. We’re backing the explosive opener to make it one to remember.