PREVIEW | New Zealand vs. Australia T20 series

AUSTRALIA takes on New Zealand in a three-match T20 series across the ditch, starting on Wednesday. The tourists have named a full strength squad as auditions for this year’s T20 World Cup continue, with a host of big guns returning.

Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith and Travis Head have all been named in the makeshift selection trials, as both sides compete for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. Australia is fresh off a 2-1 series win over West Indies, while the Kiwis recently beat Pakistan 4-1.

A pair of Test matches will follow directly after the T20 fixtures, but before then, we preview the limited format series with a look at who’s set to feature prominently.


1st T20: February 21 @ Sky Stadium (Wellington), 5:10pm AEDT
2nd T20: February 23 @ Eden Park (Auckland), 5:10pm AEDT
3rd T20: February 25 @ Eden Park (Auckland), 11am AEDT


AUSTRALIA: Mitchell Marsh (c), Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

NEW ZEALAND: Finn Allen, Devon Conway, Tim Seifert, Rachin Ravindra, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Mitchell Santner (c), Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult

Mitchell Starc is one of Australia’s returning big guns | Image Credit: Getty Images


Australia’s usual bowling attack is back in business, with Cummins, Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa reconvening. Recent debutant Spencer Johnson replaces Marcus Stoinis (back) in the side, while Nathan Ellis makes his timely return from a rib injury.

Matt Short has recovered in time from a hamstring niggle to keep his spot, though Aaron Hardie – Stoinis’ initial replacement – will miss with a calf strain. Matt Wade has also been ruled out for game one to attend the birth of his third child. Josh Inglis will take the gloves.

In terms of the makeup of the team, Hazlewood looks poised to play all three games due to not being available for the IPL. David Warner will continue his farewell tour atop the batting order alongside Head, while Mitch Marsh has locked himself in at first drop.

Glenn Maxwell will likely continue at number four with Smith, Short, and Tim David set to battle it out for middle order spots. Inglis and Wade are also in favour for the six and seven slots, with the latter being the preferred wicketkeeper at this stage.

New Zealand, meanwhile, will be without a host of big names. Kane Williamson is on paternity leave, while Daryl Mitchell (foot) continues to rest up in hopes of making it back in time for the Tests. Quick Kyle Jamieson is another significant injury blow.

There are a couple more where that came from, too. Tim Seifert (adductor), Michael Bracewell (finger) and Matt Henry (hip) are also on the outer for now, though a good amount of firepower remains in the hosts’ squad which usually fares well with the white ball.

Finn Allen is one to watch | Image Credit: Getty Images


AUSTRALIA: Josh Inglis

This series is all about opportunities and Inglis has a terrific opening in game one. With Wade set to miss, Inglis will take the gloves and could establish himself as Australia’s top choice. There is the likelihood that both players are included in the same XI with Inglis batting anywhere from one to six, but he has a prime opportunity to edge ahead here.


Allen is a star in the making who has already made his mark on the international stage. The 24-year-old opener has a handy record against Australia in the format and is fresh off a five-match series against Pakistan where he struck at a rate of 195. Allen also notched his high score in said series, blasting 137 (62) in game three to signal his intentions.


New Zealand has a host of big names missing but is always a threat in the white ball formats. Home ground advantage will also suit against an Australian outfit in fine form. The tourists also have a happy knack of simply finding a way. With World Cup selection at stake, Australia 2-1.

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