New Zealand and Australia will take on a five-game T20I series in Christchurch on Monday, with one eye on winning the series and one at the World Cup in India later this year. Rival captains Kane Williamson and Aaron Finch said on Sunday that the series offered an opportunity to look at the potential balance of their squads ahead of the championship eight months from now. “The first goal is to win the series, but there is also some information gathered during the series with guys in different roles,” said Australian captain Finch.
Neither captain was willing to name their line-up for the first game, although Finch indicated he would join Matthew Wade and the limitless Josh Philippe at the top, with Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis adding to the top five.
The Black Caps confirmed hard-hitting opener Martin Guptill, who had been under an injury cloud, passed a fitness test and would open – leaving no room for the limitless Finn Allen who was a top performer in the domestic T20 series of New Zealand.
Guptill had averaged a low 11.5 before getting injured in the home series, while 21-year-old Allen tore away with 512 runs to an impressive 56.88.
“Every series you play is an opportunity to grow as a team and we have the World Twenty20s in mind,” said Williamson.
“There are a lot of players around who play really well.”
Preparation was not ideal for Australia, which was scheduled to end their 14 days in managed isolation as part of New Zealand’s strict Covid-19 rules on Sunday – 24 hours before the first game.
But Williamson didn’t expect Australia to be rusty.
“Whatever Australian team is released, it’s strong. They have most of their consistent Twenty20 squad there, with the opportunity to bring in many talented youngsters that they do have,” he said.
Game one is set on the 10th anniversary of a devastating 6.3 on the Richter scale earthquake that claimed 185 lives in Christchurch. Williamson and Finch will lay a wreath at the anniversary commemoration hours before the match starts.
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