New Zealand will take on Trans-Tasman rivals Australia in the finals of the T20I tri-series at Auckland on Wednesday in what will be a repeat of their round-robin fixture at the same venue a few days earlier.
Then, Australia had successfully completed a world record chase of 244 at Eden Park with its short boundaries.
Runs should flow once again and so we take a look at the key battles ahead of the finals.
TRENT BOULT V D’ARCY SHORT
Boult might not be the top-ranked Kiwi bowler but he remains the indisputable lynchpin of their bowling attack. The left-arm pacer has been expensive in his last three outings but has still managed to chip in with crucial wickets at the top and at the death.
His job on Wednesday will be to provide the crucial breakthroughs at the start and up against him will be David Warner and D’Arcy Short. While the reputation of the former precedes him, that of the latter is only growing with each passing innings in international cricket.
The Big Bash League (BBL) record-breaker has taken to international cricket like a duck to water and his match-winning 76 in the record chase will be fresh on the minds of the Blackcaps. His battle with Boult at the start should be an intriguing affair.
AARON FINCH VS ISH SODHI
The Australian batsman is having an extended purple patch that is showing no signs of stopping.
He was brilliant in the ODI series against England where he scored two tons and he has carried that form into the T20I tri-series. He played a big part in Australia’s record chase at the same venue and was on hand to score the winning runs.
Coming in to bat down the middle-order, Finch will up against New Zealand’s ace leg-spinner Ish Sodhi The Kiwi has been economical in the recent matches and his match-up against Finch will be interesting.
Finch loves to attack the spinners and there is no doubt he will go after Sodhi when the invitation is offered. Who comes out on top remains to be seen.
COLIN MUNRO V BILLY STANLAKE
Munro has been in destructive form in the T20 format since the end of the last year and has looked ominous in his last two outings where has registered two smashing half-centuries.
With Eden Park’s miniscule boundary distances, Munro could turn the match on its head with an explosive start. His partnership with Martin Guptill at the top has flourished of late and they will need to deal with Australia’s pace threat at the start of the innings.
That threat comes from Billy Stanlake who has been cranking up the speeds in this tri-series. The 23-year-old hurling in his rockets at Munro who will be looking to fight fire with fire is a mouth-watering prospect.
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