Australian cricket fans will be in their element during February and March as the national team travels to New Zealand to play five Twenty20 matches.
The Aussies have named an 18-man squad for the series, with several standout Big Bash performers handed a chance to shine on the international stage.
Australia will be confident of victory against the Black Caps, having lost just one of their previous nine T20 internationals.
Sangha One to Watch in NZ
The selectors have used the trip to New Zealand as an opportunity to reward some of the best performers from this season’s Big Bash.
These include Hobart Hurricanes’ big-hitter Ben McDermott and Sydney Sixers wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Philippe.
However, Sydney Thunder leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha is arguably the most exciting addition to the squad having enjoyed an impressive first year in the BBL.
The 19-year-old leg-spinner bagged 21 wickets for Thunder and will be eager to continue in the same vein for the national team.
Australia Look to the Future
The Australian selectors clearly have one eye on the T20 World Cup scheduled for later this year, with their squad for New Zealand featuring some surprise omissions.
Chris Lynn, Dan Christian and Usman Khawaja have all been left out, despite appearing to have plenty of mileage left in them at international level.
The trio have all been in decent form, but their exclusion from the tour of New Zealand doesn’t bode well for their hopes of playing in the World Cup.
With the squad list containing numerous players who specialise in the middle order, the selectors seem to have their eye on improving their output from that area of the team.
Wade with a Point to Prove
Matthew Wade will be keen to rediscover his form in New Zealand after being axed from Australia’s Test squad for their upcoming tour of South Africa.
Wade scored just 173 runs at an average of 21.62 in four recent Test matches against India, sparking the decision to leave him out.
The 33-year-old may start as wicketkeeper in the T20 series, although Philippe is pushing hard for inclusion in that role.
Wade’s greater experience is likely to give him the edge, but his place in the team could be in jeopardy if he doesn’t improve his form in New Zealand.
New Zealand vs Australia: T20 Prediction
The two sides enjoyed contrasting fortunes in their most recent T20 series, with Australia losing against India while New Zealand defeated Pakistan.
However, the Aussies boast an excellent record against New Zealand in T20 cricket and are strongly fancied to emerge victorious in this series.
Australia T20 Squad
Aaron Finch (capt), Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.
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