Australia will look to begin their title defence at the T20 World Cup in style when they face New Zealand at what is expected to be a capacity crowd at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Not everything has gone to plan for Australia in the lead-up to this year’s World Cup, with back-up keeper Josh Inglis ruled out of the tournament after a freak accident earlier this week.
Australia replaced Inglis with all-rounder Cameron Green in what skipper Aaron Finch admitted was a “risk” given it means they have no specialist replacement for first-choice gloveman Matthew Wade.
Catch the T20 World Cup Live on Kayo. Don’t Risk Missing All Your Teams’ Matches. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
MATCH CENTRE: All the key stats, wickets and updates to follow from Aus vs NZ
Ireland knock out West Indies of T20 WC | 00:57
History is against New Zealand in Saturday’s game though, with the Black Caps having not won against Australia on their home turf across all formats since 2011.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s opener, Kane Williamson said Australia obviously have a distinct advantage given their intimate knowledge of the conditions.
“They’re very clinical at home and in most places that they play, which is a reflection of where they stand in the game,” he said.
But New Zealand may have their own secret weapon, having brought former Test spinner Stephen O’Keefe into their camp to work with the Black Caps spinners.
“He knows these conditions as well as anybody,” Williamson said.
“It was nice for them to have a bit of a conversation with an experienced spinner in this format.”
Of course, both teams could have to adapt under pressure should wet weather impact Saturday’s game.
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting an 80 per cent chance of rain, with between three and six millimetres tipped for Saturday and showers more likely in the afternoon and evening.
Australian skipper Finch said they are already prepared should the game be shortened due to the weather.
MORE T20 WORLD CUP NEWS
EXPERT TIPS: Legend’s big Aussie snub; England young weapon a major WC threat
BURNING QUESTIONS: Harsh truth in bold Aussie call; old foe could have last laugh
Aussies to risk taking only one keeper | 01:47
“If there is rain around and the game is shortened, that can dictate what you do with your team,” he said earlier in the week.
“But we’re really confident that all the stuff we’ve done in the lead up to this that there’s enough bases we can cover with our squad.”
Finch is also prepared to face off against New Zealand quick Trent Boult, who has had the upperhand over the Australian captain in recent years.
Boult has dismissed Finch six times in white-ball cricket but the 35-year-old is ready to overcome his demons.
“Trent is an unbelievable bowler, he has been for 10 or 12 years now,” Finch said.
“He probably had my number no doubt. I still feel as though I’ve got a really solid game plan. There’s some technical things I can do to a left-armer that can help that.
“At times I’ve been a bit more negative to left-arm bowlers. You’re almost batting trying not to get out as opposed to trying to be proactive.”
TEAM GUIDE: Dark horse who can’t be ignored; minnows that shocked world
ULTIMATE GUIDE: The massive task for Aussies 12 months after moment of glory
Follow all the action in our live blog below. Can’t see it? Click here!