New Zealand eye another upset, Australia battle-ready


Dharamsala, March 17: High-flying New Zealand will have their tails up and eye another upset when they resume  the trans-Tasman rivalry with a strong Australian side in the ICC World Twenty20 here on Friday. Both sides are seeking a maiden triumph in this global event. New Zealand are on a high having shocked tournament favourites and hosts India in their campaign opener. Their batsmen may have found the going difficult in the first match but the bowlers brought them right into the game. The spin-trio of Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Nathan McCullum shared nine wickets among them to comfortably defend a low total of 126.

The Kiwis made a statement of sorts with their 47-run win over the famed Indian outfit. And if the pitch at HPCA offers turn, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who made a bold decision by dropping pace duo of Tim Southee and Trent Boult against India, will continue with same spin trio.  The turn that the New Zealand spinners extracted from the Wankhede surface during the warm-ups surprised the Australians, according to veteran all-rounder Shane Watson, who had called it “incredible”.  However, Australia have always been an indomitable side, especially in big events like the World Cup, and they too will fancy their chances in the Super 10 Group 2 match at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association stadium Friday.

Australia and New Zealand have only met four times since the inaugural international T20 match between them in 2005 and have never played each other outside Australasia. New Zealand won their last encounter — back in 2010 — in a Super Over but Australia have been winners on every other occasion. As they have not tasted T20 success in recent times, Australia will seek to use last year’s emphatic World Cup final victory to gain a mental edge. If the Australians are inspired by their 50-over World Cup triumph, New Zealand have recently beaten them 2-1 in  ODI series.

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