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As Australia, New Zealand and England head into the Trans-Tasman T20I Tri-Series, the international cricketing circuit is abuzz with expectations of a gripping contest. There is a rational explanation for the frenzy the tournament is creating, as all three teams are evenly poised, at least on paper. The conventional rivalry that runs deep in Australia vs. England and Australia vs. New Zealand contests is yet another contributor to the hype.
As the stage is set, cricket buffs are anticipating the outcome of the series. According to the popular sentiment, Australia has an edge over the other two teams, thanks to the home conditions and recent form. That said, the shortest version of cricket is more prone to uncertainties vis-à-vis the other two formats, making all predictions go haywire quite often. Join us, as we dive deep into the teams to uncover their prospects in the series.
Notwithstanding the absence of the regular skipper and top order bat Steve Smith, Australia is a well balanced side. The batting mainstay at the top of the order will be David Warner who is leading the side for the series. Though he is short of runs lately, Warner can turn the tide on any given day with his hitting abilities. Aaron Finch will be his opening partner who also has a reputation for taking the bowlers to the cleaners. The presence of Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Alex Carey and Marcus Stoinis provides the needed firepower in the middle order. The pace spearheads, Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye can prove destructive with their variations, while Adam Zampa with his deceptive leg-breaks can be effective as well.
Following a drubbing in the Ashes, England is desperate to make a comeback. However, their chances in the series look lean given the absence of the two star performers. Joe Root made it to the squad initially, but selectors did a volte face to rest him for the series, while Ben Stokes may miss the series, as he has to appear in court to face the charge of an affray on 13th February. England will be relying on Joss Butler and Alex Hales for a brisk start, upon which the middle order, comprised by skipper Eoin Morgan, David Malan and James Vince, can capitalize to put up a decent total. Sam Curran and Willey have to contribute with the bat and ball while Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood have to be impeccable with their line and length to give their team a fighting chance.
Like England, New Zealand too enters the Trans-Tasman T20I Tri-Series with a bruised ego. Thanks to the inclusion of the big hitting left-hander Colin Munro and the top ranking T20 bowler Ish Sodhi, things look bright for the Kiwis. The top order looks decent with Captain Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill, while the middle order will be batting around the experience of Ross Taylor. The Kiwis will count on Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner to deliver the goods with the ball. Ben Wheeler can be the surprise package.
SQUADS FOR ENGLAND, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND T20I TRI-SERIES, 2018
David Warner(c), Aaron Finch, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa
Eoin Morgan(c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Jake Ball
New Zealand Squad:
Kane Williamson(c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler