ICC Champions Trophy: Kiwis opt to bat against Aussies

Evrard Martin
Juin 2, 2017

In 87 years of global cricket since New Zealand played their first Test in 1930, the only tournament they have won was when they beat India in the 2000 Champions Trophy final.

Both the teams are relied over their pace battery and have played fast bowlers in the match. With the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy on offer, both Australia and New Zealand will be keen to grab the award and move further into the Champions Trophy with momentum on their side. As has been the case in recent years, the two consistent performers will be expected to lead from the front also.

While Australia are always a tough team to crack, the Kane Williamson-led side will head into the eight-team tournament with renewed confidence, following their six-wicket warm-up win over Sri Lanka at the same venue.

Only 9.3 overs were possible before the covers came on, during which Australia prised out Black Caps opener Martin Guptill for a lively 26 after being sent into the field first.

New Zealand beat Australia 2-0 in a home ODI series earlier this year and Williamson said Thursday: "We have played each other a lot, and we are fairly familiar with each other but teams are always trying to do (things) slightly different".

Australia have an explosive opening pair in Aaron Finch and David Warner, followed by Chris Lynn, one of the most powerful hitters in the world. The trio would look to go hard at the bowlers and put them on the back foot.

This is the first time Australia will have the option of fielding their four frontline fast bowlers in the form of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson in the same tournament.

Keeping the English conditions in mind, it is most important that the Australian players should be playing the match in a calm way so then the batsmen can play the game well with the ball. Guptill and Williamson will be the key to New Zealand, and also crucial to the side's fortunes will be the form of the experienced Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, and Luke Ronchi.

When questioned about the Perth native, Smith made it clear that his past performance against New Zealand will bear no precedence on his selection for Friday's game.

The two sides locked horns against each other in the grand finale of the 2015 ICC World Cup.

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Aaron Smith, Pat Cummins, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), Adam Zampa.

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