Focus shifts to Trans-Tasman battle - Australia v New Zealand - Match Preview
Group A: Australia v New Zealand in Birmingham
2nd June, 10:30 local | 09:30 GMT
The Champions Trophy 2017 edition is all set to witness Trans-Tasman rivalry with the finalists of 2015 World Cup locking horns with each other in Birmingham.
Both Australia and New Zealand have similar strengths and weaknesses but it will be all about, who outsmart each other when they face on Friday. The return of an in-form Aaron Finch at the top along with David Warner and with Steven Smith to follow, Australia have a dominant top order. With injury concerns to Glenn Maxwell, who missed the second warm-up game after being hit on the head during a practice session, the performances of their all-rounders Marcus Stoinis and Moises Henriques along with Travis Head will very well decide their fortunes in the tournament.
Their biggest strength will remain their pace bowling department which has seen the return of Mitchell Starc, John Hastings and James Pattinson along with ever reliable Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. The quality in the pace department is so formidable that leg-spinner Adam Zampa is struggling to find a permanent place despite finishing 2016 as the second highest wicket-taker.
New Zealand's weakness in English conditions was exposed by the Indian seamers during their warm-up game face-off where the Black Caps were dismissed under 200 but they bounced back in their next practice game, chasing a total of over 350 against Sri Lanka riding on a century from Martin Guptill and useful knocks from Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson, clearly proving they can never be written off especially in this format.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has made it clear that a foot injury to opener Tom Latham will not rule him out of the tournament while the likes of Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham and Anderson will be hoping for a strong platform from the middle order which is boosted by the return of Ross Taylor. The spotlight will once again be on the new ball combination of Tim Southee and Trent Boult while Mitchell McClenaghan is coming from a good performance in the Indian Premier League.
Head to Head Record:
Australia have a dominating record of 90 wins from 135 games in their overall head to head record which is no different when it comes to Champions Trophy. as they registered wins in four out of the five games with one ending without a result.
The last time these two teams met in an ICC tournament was during the World T20 2016 in India where New Zealand registered a eight run win while it was Michael Clarke's men who emerged victorious during the 2015 World Cup final against Black Caps.
Marcus Stoinis - He has played just three ODIs until now and already has one of the most influential game in the history of the tournament that came against New Zealand in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy where he scored an unbeaten 146 and picked three wickets as well but could not quite take his team over the line. Skipper Smith lavished praise on the 27-year-old during the press conference on Thursday, citing the impact he can have on the team.
Corey Anderson - His role in the team is not much different to Stoinis. Known for his hard hitting and handy role with the ball, Anderson will be hoping to use the tournament as a turnaround in his career which has dipped a bit after he was sidelined with injuries.
Australia: 1. Aaron Finch, 2. David Warner, 3. Steven Smith (captain), 4. Moises Henriques, 5. Travis Head, 6. Marcus Stoinis, 7. Matthew Wade (wk), 8. Pat Cummins / James Pattinson, 9. Mitchell Starc, 10. Josh Hazlewood, 11. Adam Zampa
New Zealand: 1. Tom Latham, 2. Martin Guptill, 3. KaneWilliamson (captain), 4. Ross Taylor, 5. Neil Broom / James Neesham, 6. Corey Anderson, 7. Colin de Grandhomme, 8. Mitchell Santner, 9. Tim Southee, 10. Trent Boult, 11. Adam Milne
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