"We haven't thought too much about that. Nice to play against Australia first up, and it should be a good game." There wasn't a hint of concern about the record of his side in Australia from Kane Williamson. In ICC tournaments, Australia has always been NZ's Achilles heel, and the Kiwis have only won seven international games in Australia since the turn of the century.
It is not uncommon for NZ to show up at ICC events and somehow make it into knockouts, but this time the road isn't smooth. The skipper himself struggled to put his bat on the ball and struck at less than 100 in the IPL, but in the final of the BAN-PAK tri series, he showed some signs of regaining form. They were dealt with a huge blow when last year's semi final's hero Daryl Mitchell sustained an injury and is expected to feature sometime during the tournament. The Blackcaps took a bold decision to drop Guptill and blood in Finn Allen. Allen is one of the most destructive openers in the format and his SR in the 1st 6 overs is around 155. They have unearthed a gem in Michael Bracewell during the European tour and was decalred man of the tournament of the Tri series. The highlight of his performance was he didn't concede even a single six in 5 games and his economy was less than 5. He is an explosive batter down the order with his T20I strike rate standing at 183 and ODI SR at 110.
In spite of the fact that they suffered series losses against India, England, and survived a close shave against the West Indies just three weeks before the final, the defending champions are still considered to be favorites even though they have blown hot and cold in last one month. While Tim David and Cam Green's inclusion has achieved amazing results, Maxwell and Finch's form is a little concerning. The latter was among runs in the warm up game against India but he is striking at 120 after 34 T20Is since the beginning of 2021. One more thing that could hurt them is unavailibility of a back-up keeper since Josh Inglis suffered a freak accident on golf course.
Pitch & Conditions
The forecast isn't promising and we could witness a shortened game where stacking the likes of David, Phillips and Allen will help. Spinners should get some assistance on this surface.
Australia: Finch, Warner, Marsh, Maxwell, Stoinis/Green, Tim David, Wade, Cummins, Starc, Zampa, Hazlewood
New Zealand: Conway, Finn Allen, Williamson, Phillips, Bracewell, Neesham, Santner, Southee, Boult, Ferguson/Milne, Sodhi
Head to Head
Overall: Australia lead 10-4
In Australia: Australia leads 3-0
Guptill is the leading run-scorer (463)
Sodhi is the leading wicket taker (16)
Match Ups (all T20s)
Williamson vs Starc: 39 off 12 balls with no dismissals
Phillips vs Zampa: 41 off 21 balls with no dismissals
Finch vs Boult-Southee: Average 55, SR 129
Finch vs Sodhi: 45 runs for 3 dismissals
Warner vs Southee: 114 off 61 balls with 1 dismissal
Warner vs Sodhi: 2 dismissals in 17 balls
Maxwell vs Boult: 29 off 34 balls with 3 dismissals
Maxwell vs Southee: 84 off 43 with 3 dismissals
Wade vs Boult: 58 off 37 with 4 dismissals
Recent Form (last 5 T20I innings)
> Core Team: Conway, Warner, Phillips, Bracewell, Starc & David (batting 1st) or Allen (batting 1st)
> Feel free to make Williamson (jersey number 22) Captain/VC as today is 22nd of the month in the year number 22.