First ODI – Tuesday, February 3,from 2pm local time at Eden Park, Auckland. 12pm AEST for Australians.
AFTER winning the Cricket World Cup on home soil against the Kiwis last year, the Australians travel to New Zealand to face their Trans-Tasman rivals for the first time since the MCG decider back in March of 2015.
Despite having a successful summer in both the Test and ODI arena, the Australians were humbled prior to boarding the plane to New Zealand in the T20 format, losing all three matches against India.
After having their colours lowered in the shortest iteration of the game; the Australians will relish the chance to clash with the Kiwis in the format they have dominated for the past year.
The Australian team that won the World Cup last year is a vastly different one that will run out against New Zealand on Tuesday.
Both former captain Michael Clarke and wicket keeper Brad Haddin have both retired and Australia’s number one ODI bowler, Mitchell Starc, will also be missing through injury.
New Zealand’s supremacy at home has been unprecedented in recent times too, making the Aussie task all the more difficult.
In 26 ODI games that New Zealand have hosted at home since 2014, the Kiwis have lost just three matches.
New Zealand has not lost a One Day International match in 2016.
Australian captain Steve Smith believes the series will provide the ultimate test for the number one-ranked team in the world.
“New Zealand is a very good one-day side; they have played particularly well here at home.” Smith said.
“I guess for us we’ve got quite a different side to the one who faced them in the World Cup final, so it is a big challenge for us but we’re really looking forward to it.”
Smith’s teammate James Faulkner agreed that the series will be played at the highest level.
“I just think it’s going to be a great series all around,” Faulkner said.
“I think obviously after both teams playing in the World Cup final and what New Zealand achieved… I’m expecting a really tough series. I think you’re going to see a really good brand of cricket with bat and ball, and a really good fierce competition.”
Best bets for the First ODI at Eden Park
Dave Warner to score the most runs for the Australians
The Australian opener has been in splendid form this summer.
Warner’s ODI record across his last six games in particular has been incredible, with the Aussie master-blaster scoring over 59 runs four times across his last six matches.
The short New Zealand boundaries will suit Warner too, and he will look assert his dominance over their bowling attack early in the piece.
Warner to top score for the Aussies looks to be one of the best bets in the opening ODI match.
Sportsbet has Dave Warner at $4.33 to top score for Australia
Trent Boult to take the most wickets for New Zealand
Trent Boult is the number one ranked ODI bowler in the world, and after looking at his record it is not hard to see why.
Since returning from injury this year, Boult has taken nine wickets in his last three games and has taken the most scalps for his team twice in those matches.
The last time the two teams met in New Zealand Trent Boult was the catalyst for the Kiwis’ victory, taking five wickets for just 27 runs.
He looks the obvious candidate for the most wickets for the New Zealanders and represents tremendous value at $3.75.
Sportsbet has Trent Boult at $3.75 to take the most wickets for New Zealand.
Brendon McCullum to score 50 runs or more
When the two teams last met on the MCG in the World Cup final, the New Zealand skipper had an innings he would like to forget.
McCullum was intent on making an early statement against the Australians in the opening over of the final, but he recklessly threw away his wicket through his wild swinging and his own inability to control his emotions.
This time around in his home country McCullum will be looking to make an impact for the right reasons.
McCullum has been terrific in Auckland in his past three outings, scoring over 50 runs twice.
The bet of McCullum to score over 50 runs in the opening ODI at Eden Park looks to be one of the safer bets of the series.
Sportsbet has Brendon McCullum at $2.67 to make 50 or more runs.
The rest of the ODI series
Second ODI – February 6 from 2pm local time at Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington.
Third ODI – February 8 from 2pm local time at Seddon Park, Hamilton.
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