Dharamsala, March 17 (IANS) New Zealand will bank on the confidence gained from beating favourites India to overcome Australia in a World T20 cricket group phase match here on Friday.
New Zealand began the tournament with a bang, shocking India by 47 runs on Tuesday. Though they struggled against the Indian spinners on a turning track in Nagpur, they battled to post a fighting score of 126 before bundling out the hosts for 79.
Australia will be another tough opponent for the Kiwis, who have always been at each other’s throat in competitive matches.
What will add zing to contest is the fact that both teams are eyeing their maiden World T20 triumph.
The amount of turn offered by the pitch at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) stadium could prove to be a determining factor in the match.
New Zealand’s spin-troika of Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Nathan McCullum grabbed nine Indian wickets to surprise one and all. Their captain Kane Williamson dropped pace duo of Tim Southee and Trent Boult against India and is expected to play the trio on Friday.
Their slow bowling threat has already made Australia stand up and take note.
Veteran all-rounder Shane Watson has said in the build-up to this that spin would play a crucial part in the HPCA stadium.
Australia possess spin options and are confident that Ashton Agar will be fit to play after suffering from a stomach illness.
Australia captain Steve Smith will be hoping the rich Indian Premier League (IPL) experience of the likes of Watson, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell will pay rich dividends.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi (wicketkeeper), Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, Mitchell Santer, Nathan McCullum, Grant Elliott, Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi, Corey Anderson.
Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill (wicketkeeper), Andrew Tye, Shane Watson, Adam Zampa.