Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Date: Thursday, March 13, 2020
The Chappell-Hadlee Trophy will be on the line for the first time since 2016-17 as holders New Zealand look to defend their ODI rivalry trophy against Australia over a three-match series in the country. It is a quick return across the Tasman for many of the Black Caps squad after they were just there in December and January for a series of three Test matches.
Those Test matches were some of the most one-sided games in cricket over the last few years as the hosts whitewashed the tourists 3-0. Not only was the series win comprehensive, but each game was nothing more than an exhibition of the strength of the Australian Test match side as they won by 296 runs, 247 runs, and 279 runs in consecutive Tests. The Black Caps will be hoping a change of format to a limited-overs contest will be enough to spark them into better form against their closest rivals.
Australia will be looking to pick up their form after they were unceremoniously whitewashed in their series in South Africa. This is a team that has lost seven of their last eight ODI matches going back to losing in the World Cup semi-final to England. While the T20I squad has improved, the 50 over squad has been poor as of late.
The Australian questions come in their middle order. The top three batsmen combination of David Warner, Aaron Finch, and Steve Smith are the best in the business as they have a combined average of 51.64 since the start of 2019. This is the best for any top three in the world. While their top three are dominant, Nos. 4-7 in the lineup just haven’t been getting it done – the sixth-highest average in the world – and there might be room for some experimentation here. Marnus Labuschagne has had some big innings, so expect him to be a huge part of the middle order moving forwards.
The Australian fans would also like to see more out of paceman Mitchell Starc, a player who looked strangely off-song in South Africa.
New Zealand will look to take advantage of the sheer amount of cricket that Australian players have played since the World Cup. They were impressive against India in the ODIs and the Tests – the less said about the T20Is the better – and they will see a number of stars return for this series. Look for Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult, and Matt Henry to all take advantage of the play of the pitches in Australia to boost the Black Caps chances of winning here.
Australia are the heavy favourites here at 0.55 with BetXChange while the visitors from New Zealand can be had at 1.40. Given the differing fortunes of the two countries in their recent matches – Australia being smashed by South African while New Zealand took down India – the Black Caps are well worth a punt at that price to take advantage of a road-weary Australian side and take the first ODI in this series.