Cricket Galiyara

Match Preview – New Zealand vs Australia, Australia in New Zealand 2020/21, 1st T20I

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It seems strange that for the two teams who played the first ever T20I – in Auckland 16 years ago, complete with some questionable hairstyles – and are a few hours away from each other that this match will be just the 10th time they have met in the format.

Over the next two weeks, there is a chance to play a bit of catch up with a five-match series – the first time Australia have played one of such length in T20Is. The visitors will come almost straight out of managed isolation onto the pitch although they have been able to train over the last couple of weeks. For those in good form in the BBL (which is most of the squad) they will hope that hasn’t worn off while captain Aaron Finch, who had a tournament to forget, will hope to emerge refreshed.

New Zealand have already had six T20Is this season against West Indies and Pakistan – in total their summer includes 14 with matches still to come against Bangladesh – although their ranking of No. 6 is their lowest across the three formats as they build towards the World Cup later this year in India. However, the form of Devon Conway, Tim Seifert and Glenn Phillips this season has brought considerable dynamism to their batting.

Unless the India-England Test series result goes the way Australia need it to, the vast majority of this year is almost purely T20 focussed following the postponement of the tour of South Africa. It should be a valuable trip for Finch’s team as they assess options for the World Cup: in top-order batting and quick bowling, they are especially well stocked.

This opening match of the series in Christchurch will be the first night international staged at the ground which has recently completed the installation of floodlights. The contest comes on the 10th anniversary of the 2011 earthquake which struck the city and the captains and coaches from both teams will lay a wreath at a memorial service during the day.

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