Champions Trophy: Australia vs New Zealand Preview

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We take a look at the second match of the Champions Trophy which sees Australia set to go up against New Zealand. 

Edgbaston will play host to a tasty Trans-Tasman clash as Darren Lehman’s all-star Australian side go up against Mike Hesson’s plucky Black Caps.

Both sides have tasted success in the various iterations of this tournament down the years and will want to get off to the perfect start here. Both captains will no doubt want to have a bowl with a bit of grass covering expected on the wicket and cloud overhead. It's all set up quite nicely, let's take a look at the teams below:

To Win Match
Australia 52/100 | Tie 35/1 | New Zealand 31/20

Australia vs New Zealand | Friday 2 June 2017 | Edgbaston, Birmingham | 11:30

Australia
Australia have really battled for consistency of late. Looking back at their last four bi-lateral series, they’ve beaten New Zealand (3-0) and Pakistan (4-1) but have also been whitewashed by South Africa (5-0) and New Zealand (2-0).

You do worry for the Australians when you look at some of their key top order players’ averages in England. David Warner’s career average (44.84) and strike rate (96.85) plummet to 28.16 and 76.47 when playing in England. It’s a similar story with Steve Smith, who only averages 27.90 and strikes at 81.57 in English conditions.

The star duo will need overcome this poor form in England if the Australians are indeed to advance out of their group, let alone claim their third Champions Trophy title. That isn’t to say that the rest of Lehman’s top and middle order can’t get the runs should the two crown jewels in the Australian batting line-up fail.

All eyes will be on Chris Lynn who has proven himself time and again at franchise level for both in the Big Bash as well as the IPL, although he’s never really come good in Australian Gold. He’ll be looking to cement his place in the side going forward with a starring role in a major ICC tournament.

I fully expect Lynn to open the batting with Warner with Smith coming in at three. We may even see Aaron Finch coming in lower down the order – a tactic the Gujarat Lions employed with relative success during the recently concluded IPL.

Bowling wise, the Aussies look well set to assault opposition batsmen during this tournament. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have performed well at ODI and Test level for the last 12 months. John Hastings, James Pattinson will provide support while Adam Zampa will look to strike in the middle overs with his leg spin.

New Zealand
The Black Caps will be brimming with confidence coming into the Champions Trophy having historically done quite well in the competition in the past. They smashed Sri Lanka on Tuesday in a warm-up match, in a performance that would have sent a strong message to the likes of Australia, England and Bangladesh.

Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson were particularly good in that match scoring 116* and 88 respectively with both striking at around 150. There were also runs for Tom Latham (44), Neil Broom (37) and Corey Anderson (50) as they chased down 356 with 23 balls to spare.

Bowling wise they should do quite well. Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Adam Milne should all relish bowling in English conditions and will look to take advantage of overhead conditions if the weatherman is correct in his predictions for Friday. We should also see a bit of grass on the deck which should help the seamers early on – the toss could prove to be all important.

The Black Caps have been in relatively good touch in the lead-up to this tournament, winning a Tri-Nation series against Bangladesh and Ireland, beating their Friday opposition 2-0 at home while going down 3-2 to South Africa in New Zealand.

Verdict: New Zealand 31/20
The Black Caps were absolutely magnificent in their warm-up game against Sri Lanka earlier this week, although it should be noted that each side were allowed to field 15 players (11 batting and 11 bowling). Still, there was enough there to suggest that the New Zealanders have what it takes to mount a serious challenge this year. Small stake on at 31/20. 

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.net

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