Trans-Tasman T20 Tri-series: England, Australia and New Zealand Battle It Out6 min read
There is no global ICC tournament in 2018 so these teams will be using this tri-series as an early start for the 2020 ICC World T20. It is a seven match series with the final being played in New Zealand between the top two of the three teams.
England come into the series full of confidence having just won a white-ball series against Australia 4-1. Although they’ve rested Joe Root and Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes is unlikely to be available until the very end of the series if at all, this is a settled T20 squad with just one uncapped player – Sam Curran.
There is strength and depth in England’s line up with powerful hitters throughout the order and a solid combination of seam and spin.
Australia’s T20 form is better of late than their one-day form although are still only ranked 7th in the ICC T20 rankings. The squad they have picked, led by David Warner, is predominantly made up of successful Big Bash participants.
New Zealand are very strong in the shortest form the game but come into this series after a 1-2 loss to Pakistan at home, a series defeat that saw them concede the number one spot in the ICC T20 rankings. However, they are well led by the calm Kane Williamson and have a well balanced squad. Their middle order looks a little inexperienced but in Tim Southee and Trent Boult, they have two skilful and experienced opening bowlers.
Australia will be without big hitting Aaron Finch, who is still overcoming a hamstring injury he picked up in the ODI series but have good replacements in the form of Chris Lynn and D’Arcy Short who has been prolific in the Big Bash.
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3.
Second T20I Australia v Eng, Blundstone Arena, February 7.
Third T20I Australia v England, MCG, February 10.
Fourth T20I NZ v England, Wellington, February 14.
Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16.
Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18.
Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21.
This should be a very close series. T20 is the least predictable of the formats and each of the three teams can be destructive on their day. T20 is by far NZ’s strongest format of the game and their squad contains a good balance of power hitters, seamers with good variations and they have up to four spin options. England’s limited overs cricket has gone from strength to strength but their T20 form is not quite as good as their ODI form over the last two years. Australia’s ranking of 7th isn’t, perhaps, a true reflection of their ability and they should get off to a good start in the series in home conditions but they are not a settled side.
For me, it’s hard to look past England () to win the series even without Root and Ali. They are coming off the back of impressive victories in the ODI series against Australia and when the series moves to New Zealand, conditions will suit the bowlers and the smaller grounds should mean a lot of clearing of the rope.
Top Scorers Betting
For overall series top scorers, Colin Munro and Martin Guptill are two of the most destructive batsmen in World T20 cricket, David Warner or Chris Lynn for Australia and Jason Roy () or Jos Buttler () for England are wise picks.
In T20 looking towards the top of the order for who may score the most over the seven match series is the best bet, more time at the crease, more scoring opportunities. For some time the hardest hitting batsmen have been put towards the top of the order but each of these teams has power hitters right the way down through their top and middle order. Players who can clear the rope even in the biggest of Australian stadiums.
England’s David Willey () looks a good outside bet for top England batsman. As demonstrated by his 34 off one Nathan Lyon over in their warm up match against the Prime Minister’s XI.
For the bowlers, Ish Sodhi is ranked number one in this format of the game and it was a surprise he didn’t get a recent IPL deal. Southee and Boult with the new ball often take early wickets. For England, Adil Rashid has been in good form in the recent one-day series and will partner Liam Dawson for England’s spin options. And again, David Willey is a dangerous bowler in T20, with variations and pace. For Australia, Andrew Tye will lead their attack.