Preview: New Zealand vs Australia – T20 series

Warner, Maxwell, Santner and Southee will look to shine in the three-match T20 series between the trans-Tasman rivals.

Australia's David Warner reacts after he was out bowled by New Zealand's Tim Southee
Australia and New Zealand will look to build up to the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 by winning the bilateral series [File: Rick Rycroft/AP]

Who: New Zealand vs Australia
When: Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 7:10pm (06:10 GMT)
Where: Sky Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand

With less than four months to go until the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, the finalists of the 2021 edition and trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand will meet in a three-match series as they look to shape up their final squads for the tournament in the summer.

New Zealand captain Mitchell Santner has brushed aside the talk of his team being the “underdogs” against the current 50-over world champions Australia, and believes they will put up a strong fight in the series beginning on Wednesday.

The 2021 champions Australia will field a full-strength squad, boasting the likes of veteran limited-overs specialists Mathew Wade, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa. They will also have the services of David Warner, who has retired from all other formats of the game to solely focus on T20 cricket in the run-up to the World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States in June.

“We’re probably underdogs but we are used to that tag and don’t think much of it,” Santner said in his pre-series news conference on Tuesday.

“It’s always a pretty cool time when the Aussies come over. You always want to challenge yourself against the best in the world, and they’re up there for sure.”

Warner prepared for hostile farewell

Warner, who was a key part of Australia’s World Cup-winning squad in India late last year, will play his last bilateral series against the regional rivals.

The 37-year-old has said he is not expecting a warm farewell in New Zealand.

“Over here, it’s always the harsh reality that we’re neighbours, in sport we like to beat each other,” Warner told reporters.

“From that perspective, we’re going to be expecting the crowd to come at us as hard as they come.”

The explosive opener stirred a controversy eight years ago when he termed the Kiwi crowd “derogatory and pretty vulgar” after a series in 2016, when he was at the receiving end of abuse from the spectators.

“The crowd, yeah, they got personal. If they have to get personal, that is their character. I just go about my business,” he said.

“That is upon each individual. If you pay your money to come and abuse people, then you have to go back and lie in your own bed.

“We are just here to play the game we love and put bums on seats to keep the game going.

“As we always say, it’s ‘in one ear, out the other’, if I actually hear anything. I enjoy playing here.”

David Warner
David Warner was part of Australia’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 winning squad in India [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

Form guide

Australia come into the series on the back of a 3-0 home T20 series win over West Indies. However, the 50-over champions lost to India 1-4 in an away series shortly after the World Cup in November and December, albeit with a depleted squad.

Meanwhile, hosts New Zealand emerged 4-1 winners in last month’s series against Pakistan despite some close finishes.

Australia: W W W L L

New Zealand: L W W W W

Head-to-head record

New Zealand won in the neighbours’ last meeting in internationals at the 2022 World Cup, where they won 89 runs, but Australia hold the upper hand in the overall record with 10 wins.

Matches: 16
Australia won: 10
New Zealand won: 6

Team news

Australia have named a full-strength squad in their last T20 series before the World Cup and will look to give a run to most of their players.

Australia: Tim David, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Matt Short, Steven Smith, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Spencer Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa

New Zealand have rested their regular captain Kane Williamson following his historic century that took his side to a first Test series win over South Africa.

New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wicketkeeper), Will Young, Mitchell Santner (captain), Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Lockie Ferguson, Adam Milne, Ben Sears, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee

Source: Al Jazeera