Cricket Betting: Australia v New Zealand – First T20

Australia v New Zealand First T20

Saturday February 3 – 7:20pm AEDT

The Trans-Tasman T20 Tri-Series commences on Saturday night when Australia host New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground.


Australia

After a dreadful ODI series, Australia will be looking to bounce back in the shortest format of the game, however they will be shorn of many of their best players who will instead focus on the test tour to South Africa with Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood all made unavailable. The one exception is out-of-sorts opener David Warner who has been allowed to remain with the T20 set-up and he will lead the side, with opening partner and former captain Aaron Finch his deputy.

There is plenty of familiarity in the batting ranks with Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis all boasting plenty of experience in international colours, while BBL stars Darcy Short and Alex Carey will be hoping that their form can stand up at the highest level. The bowling attack has a greener look to it with Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa and Andrew Tye the more seasoned players as this level, supplemented by the likes of Ashton Agar, Billy Stanlake and potential debutant Ben Dwarshuis. If they are to taste success in this tournament then the Australians will have to overcome not just a second-string bowling attack but an ordinary record in this format over a sustained period.

New Zealand

On the contrary New Zealand have excelled in T20 Internationals to the extent that it was only a recent series loss to Pakistan that bumped them off top position in the ICC rankings. Their formula for success has been based around power hitting at the top of the order where the returning Colin Munro has made quite an impression alongside exquisite strokemaker Martin Guptill.

Captain Kane Williamson provides a steady hand in the middle-order, while relative newcomers Tom Bruce and Anaru Kitchen will be fighting for a place in the starting XI with veteran Ross Taylor. Following Luke Ronchi’s retirement from international cricket, Grant Phillips and Tom Blundell will duel for the ‘keeper-batsman spot, while all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme provides vital starch in the death overs.

Spin bowling has been another strength for the Black Caps with leg-spinner Ish Sodhi a demonstrated wicket-taker, while left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner has proved difficult to get away. The familiar pair of Tim Southee and Trent Boult lead the pace attack alongside the lesser-known Ben Wheeler and Seth Rance, with de Grandhomme to chip in with some overs of medium-pace. The Kiwis will be hoping to build on their impressive record of winning six of their last nine T20Is on foreign shores, before playing their remaining games in the competition at home.

Sydney Cricket Ground

In this season’s BBL the side batting second won three out of four games at the SCG, although first innings totals were not generally high with only one exceeding 160, while the Brisbane Heat were shot out for just 73 here a couple of weeks ago. The slower bowlers proved far more effective in Sydney as well with spinners conceding exactly six runs an over, compared to the quicks who leaked 8.08 runs an over.

Key Stats

  • Australia have won just two of their past six T20I series’.
  • Australia have lost five of their past six T20Is at home.
  • New Zealand have won 13 of their last 19 T20Is.
  • New Zealand have won six of their past nine T20Is away from home.
  • Since the start of 2017 Australia have played only five T20Is, while New Zealand have played 12.

The Verdict

Despite contrasting fortunes in this format, it is the hosts who have been installed as favourites over T20 specialists New Zealand.

Way back in 2005 these two sides competed in the first ever T20I with players donning retro kits and afro hair styles in what could only be described as a less than serious affair. 13 years later it could be argued that Australia’s attitude and approach to the format has not deviated as far as it should have, with results proving that they have never fully grasped the 20-over game. Their recent record, particularly at home, does not make for great viewing, while their bowling attack in particular has been seriously impacted by the conflicting test tour so they certainly appear on the short side here.

Meanwhile the Black Caps have quietly built up a formidable record in T20 cricket and although their most recent series resulted in a loss, it was to the new number one ranked side Pakistan. Their batting contains plenty of explosive power throughout, while their bowling has the right mix of variety and precision, backed up by plenty of energy in the field. Question marks over how they handle the bigger grounds in Australia are valid, although they’ve had no concerns away from home of late and the SCG deck should suit their slower bowlers who have been at the forefront of their success.

Another important factor in the Kiwis’ favour is that they have been playing the format a lot more recently with five matches against the West Indies and Pakistan over the summer, whereas Australia have only managed five in the past 12 months. With a full-strength side containing plenty of pedigree up against a rusty, largely second-string Australian outfit it’s hard not to fancy the visitors here so I will be backing New Zealand to get the job done and kick-off this tri-series with a win.

Betting Strategy

BACK –  New Zealand at 2.24 or better for 1 unit.


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