World No.2 side New Zealand are looking to bounce back from a series defeat to Pakistan, while Australia have a strong squad full of Big Bash performers, but are without Steve Smith.
Australia v New Zealand
Sydney Cricket Ground
Saturday 3 February, 19:20 local time, 08:20 GMT
The first match of the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series sees Australia host New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground. England are the other team who will be taking part in this seven-match tournament.
Steve Smith has been rested for the series so David Warner will be leading a strong Australian side that is replete with players that have done well in the Big Bash League. The big selection news for the Australians is that D’Arcy Short has been picked and is in line to make his T20I debut. Short, a 27-year-old left-handed batsman, is the leading run-scorer in the Big Bash and will be feeling very confident going into the series. The pressure will be on him though, as Aaron Finch will be missing due to a hamstring injury.
New Zealand head into this match on the back of a home T20I series defeat to Pakistan and they will be hoping for a return to form against their fiercest rivals. Where Colin Munro battered and bruised the Windies in the T20I series in late 2017, he could not replicate that form against Pakistan, missing the series-decider with a minor injury, and the Black Caps badly missed his runs. A lot will depend on how he goes at the top of the order. The same is true of Mitchell Santner, the newly crowned No.1 in the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Bowling Rankings. He will look to keep the Australian batting line-up in check, while also offering a wicket-taking threat.
New Zealand are a long way ahead of Australia in the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Rankings, with the Kiwis second and the Australians all the way down in seventh. The Aussies will be hoping that home advantage can counter that.
David Warner (Australia): While Warner had a good Ashes, he struggled in the 4-1 ODI series defeat to England, with a top score of just 35. With the added pressure of captaincy there will be increased expectations on Warner to come good in these matches against England and New Zealand. A strong start from Warner, could be the bedrock on which a victory is built. And it will be all the more important with Aaron Finch missing through injury.
Trent Boult (New Zealand): While Australia will be looking to get off to a flier with their strong top-order, it is early wickets from their left-arm quick Boult that will be the key for New Zealand. Boult did not have a vintage series against Pakistan in the T20Is, claiming just one wicket and going at over nine an over in the two matches he played, but he showed what he can do with the white ball in the ODIs against the same opposition. The pick of those performances was the 5/17 he claimed in the victory in Dunedin.
The last T20I on this ground was two years ago, and on that day a brilliant 124 not out from Shane Watson was not enough to avoid defeat to India, who chased down 198. The pitches in the Big Bash this year have not been as run-laden as that, with only one game having totals in excess of 170.
There is also rain forecast in Sydney on Saturday, with the worst of it predicted for when this match is about to get under way.
Australia: David Warner (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler