AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND 1st ODI
SYDNEY - Sunday 5th December
Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand are set to battle for the Chappell-Hadlee trophy over a three-match ODI series. The first match would be played at Sydney on Sunday, December 4. The trophy is currently held by New Zealand after their 2-1 win in New Zealand early this year.
Australia – a team in mess
To say that the hosts are in the midst of a big mess is a grave understatement. The Kangaroos have been going through a lot of turmoil in the recent times. A 3-0 Test series whitewash in Sri Lanka was followed by a 5-0 ODI whitewash in South Africa. The home summer didn’t start any better which saw a 2-1 reverse to the Proteas recently.
The last time Australia won a game in the ODI format was against Ireland in September. Although they are the number one team in this format, the Kangaroos will be under pressure to sort their mess and come back into form. Steve Smith may have seen a youthful side come back to win the third Test against South Africa but questions around their form in colored clothing are still alive.
New Zealand – determined visitors
The Kiwis on the other side have found their mojo back after a disastrous Indian tour with a 2-0 win in the Test series against Pakistan. Even in the ODI format, their recent form is very good having narrowly lost an away series to India 3-2. Before that, they haven’t lost an ODI series for over 12 months – need we say more about their pedigree in colored clothing!
This is a side that always revels in punching above its weight in this format. No wonder then that the Kiwis are ranked three in the ODI rankings. On offer for them is not just a chance to retain the Chappell-Hadlee trophy but also improve their rankings.
Both teams are missing some key players for one reason or the other and bear contrasting looks. New Zealand have left out Ross Taylor who will undergo an eye surgery while the likes of Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi and Corey Anderson are out. The presence of players like Todd Astle, Colin de Grandhomme and the rookie fast-bowler Lockie Ferguson gives the Kiwis a different outlook.
Australia too bear a different look from their recent South Africa ODI series with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins returning after injury layoffs. There’s place for exciting young all-rounder Hilton Cartwright who may get a chance to debut.
Australia start as favorites for this clash at odds of 1.4 while a Kiwi win is being offered at 3.0. Don’t rule out the Kiwis who could spring a surprise – so punting on them is a worthy bet.
Coming to individuals, David Warner continues to be key for the hosts and at odds of 3.75 he is an interesting punt for being top-scorer. Same goes for Martin Guptill – odds of 5.0 make him a calculated punt.