World Cup 2019, New Zealand vs Australia Preview: New Zealand Face Australia Eyeing Semi-Final Berth
Australia became the first team to enter the semi-finals of World Cup 2019 after defeating hosts England.
New Zealand lost to Pakistan in their last match
Australia defeated England in their last match
New Zealand will enter semi-finals if they beat Australia
New Zealand would be seeking to secure their semi-final berth when they take on trans-Tasman rivals Australia in a crucial World Cup 2019 league match on Saturday. Australia, who became the first team to enter the semi-finals of World Cup 2019 after defeating hosts England, would want to continue their winning momentum. Australia and New Zealand both have lost only one match so far in the tournament but are separated by a point because New Zealand's match against India was a washout.
Barring the defeat against India, defending champions Australia have done nothing wrong in this tournament.
New Zealand go into the match after suffering a defeat against Pakistan, which snapped their unbeaten streak in the tournament. The Black Caps -- who have amazingly retained the same side for all their seven matches -- have secured 11 points and need at least a win from their remaining two outings -- against Australia and England (July 3) -- to be assured of a fourth straight World Cup semi-final berth.
They met in the 2015 final at the MCG and with memories of that game still fresh, Saturday's match may turn out to be a cracker.
The trans-Tasman rivalry is heavily skewed against New Zealand with Australia having won all but one of the 20 ODIs played outside the two countries.
The only win for the Black Caps in a neutral venue have come in the 1999 World Cup match at Sophia Gardens.
That win in 1999 has also been the lone victory for New Zealand in seven World Cup matches between the two sides. Not only history but current form of the players also point to five-time champions Australia beginning as the favourites.
Australia swept past hosts and world number one England by 64 runs in their last match and currently look like one of the two sides most likely to lift the trophy, the other being India.
Finch and David Warner have been the dominant opening duo of this tournament and are on track to become the greatest ever pair at the top in a World Cup.
They rank first and second in the run-scoring lists, and have put on a record-equalling three century stands with two league games still to go.
Fast bowler Mitchell Starc is topping the bowling charts with 19 wickets at 18.26. He's caused New Zealand batsmen headaches before with his bounce, swing and pace.
Jason Behrendorff also came good with the new Kookaburra ball in the win over England as the left-armer took 5/44.
New Zealand will again rely heavily on captain Kane Williamson who has scored 414 runs at 138 in five innings. His lone century against Australia came when they last met, at the Champions Trophy in 2017, a contest that was washed out.
His overall record against Australia (416 runs at 41.6 in 12 ODIs) is, though, not as great as his overall career average of 48.12.
Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Tom Blundell.
Match starts at 6 pm IST.
(With PTI inputs)