Edgbaston will witness an exciting encounter between two unfriendly neighbours, Australia and New Zealand. It is a match that promises plenty of runs, electricity in the field, and pace like fire.
Edgbaston Cricket Ground
Australia in their two warm-up matches haven’t been their usual clinical self. While the second one against Pakistan was eventually called off due to rain, the Aussies had a nervous outing in their first warm-up match against Sri Lanka. Restricting Sri Lanka to 318, Australia chased it down in 49.4 overs with just two wickets in hand. Barring Aaron Finch’s belligerent century, and Travis Head’s crucial 85, the rest of the batting line-up found it difficult to get going.
Aaron Finch scored 137 runs for Australia in a warm-up game against Srilanka
Meanwhile New Zealand have had two complete warm-up games to loosen up their frames for the real deal. Their loss in the first warm-up to India owed to lack of application from the Kiwi batsmen, excluding Luke Ronchi and James Neesham. However, there was conviction in the second warm-up game against Sri Lanka. Chasing a mammoth 357, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson retired in the 29th and 32nd over after playing expertly to lead New Zealand to a strong position in the chase. Corey Anderson and Neil Broom wrapped up proceedings in the 47th over with 50 and 37 respectively.
While both teams comprise of sprightly fielders and batsmen getting back good form, the team that outperforms the other in the bowling department will likely walk out victorious. Both teams boast exceptional fast bowling units with names like Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and James Pattinson in the Aussie dressing room.
From left to right: Hazlewood, Cummins and Starc
While the likes of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, and Mitchell McClenaghan strengthen the Kiwi bowling attack.
Tim Southee will be leading Kiwi’s pace attack
The beginning and later stages of both innings promise to be a cricket lover’s delight; two menacing pace attacks against aggressive batsmen. In addition to pace, the inquisitive left-arm off-spin of Mitchell Santner and spirited leg-spinners from Adam Zampa will be essential to controlling the middle phase of each innings.
Australia: Steven Smith (c), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Corey Anderson, Ross Taylor, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Trent Boult, Tim Southee
David Warner – After top-scoring in the IPL, Warner’s supreme form will boost Australia’s chances of a 320-plus total at Edgbaston. He has continued his good form since Pakistan’s tour to Australia, and will be hungry to prove his mettle on English soil.
Mitchell Starc – After sustaining an injury during Australia’s tour of India, Starc is fit and ready-to-go against the Kiwis. Starc’s sharp bouncers and yorkers tailing in at over 90 mph will certainly test the likes of Guptill and Williamson.
Martin Guptill – In sublime form, Guptill has taken over as “chief decimator” from Brendon McCullum. On his day, which seems to be quite often nowadays, he can shred bowling line-ups of all types and on any pitch with his clean, decisive bat-swing. New Zealand will expect him to unsettle the Aussie quicks early in the innings.
Australia and New Zealand have played 118 ODIs against each other, where 73 have been won by Australia and only 38 by New Zealand.
Australia has never lost to New Zealand in a Champions Trophy encounter. They have a 4-0 head-to-head lead.
Three warm-up matches have been played at Edgbaston, Birmingham. While one was washed out, all four innings in the other two games have yielded 340-plus runs.
David Warner is 54 runs short of making 4000 runs in ODI. He currently averages 44.84.