With Australia being the first team to secure a semi-final spot in the ICC Cricket World Cup, their neighbours New Zealand will be looking to secure their spot as the two teams battle at Lord’s on Saturday.
This will be a repeat of the final of the 2015 World Cup amongst two teams that have won the most number of matches in World Cups.
Australia lead the pack here, having won 68 out of 91 games while New Zealand are a distant second with 53 wins from 85 games.
In World Cups, it’s a fairly one-sided affair though as the Aussies have won seven out of ten games and lost only three times.
On that basis, and on their recent form, where Australia have won their last match convincingly against hosts England and where New Zealand have lost a tough match against a resurgent Pakistan team, the defending champions will start off as slight favourites.
Australia have had a solid top order performance from their captain Aaron Finch and David Warner, and combined they have scored 996 runs already. While the middle order with a misfiring Glenn Maxwell might be a slight worry, the bowling, led by Mitchell Starc has been excellent.
New Zealand on the other hand have relied heavily on Kane Willamson, who has been at his consistent best and good lower order contributions from Colin de Grandhomme but the likes of Tom Latham, who has an average of six, and openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro have not been anything impressive. The bowling too has been a story of players standing up to the occasion with Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Mitchell Santner all playing their roles at key parts of the previous games.
Australia might want to continue with their winning combination and the team that won their last game very convincingly against England. Especially the way Jason Behrendorff performed, he should be in for this match as well.
Australia’s Probable XI: 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Jason Behrendorff
The Kiwis misread the conditions in the last game against Pakistan where the surface turned prodigiously, and they could have brought in leg-spinner Ish Sodhi. Matt Henry could also be replaced by Tim Southee as Henry has only taken one wicket in his last four games.
New Zealand’s Probable XI: 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Colin Munro, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 Jimmy Neehsam, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Matt Henry/Tim Southee, 10 Lockie Ferguson, 11 Trent Boult
Pitch and Weather
The game will be played on the same wicket that the Australia-England game was played is so there will be runs to be made while there will also be assistance for the fast bowlers. It would be a good toss to win and bat first.
With weather in England having been good for the last few days, there will be little to no chance of rain and a full 100-over game should be on the cards.