Australia - New Zealand World T20 Preview: Who will come out on top as the Southern-Hemisphere sides clash?

Who will come out on top in a Southern Hemisphere rivalry that spans over one hundred years between two top class cricketing nations?

Australia - New Zealand World T20 Preview: Who will come out on top as the Southern-Hemisphere sides clash?
Glenn Maxwell will be a key player on Friday (photo: ndtv)

The latest episode of the Trans-Tasman rivalry between Australia and New Zealand will commence on Friday, as the two teams look to build an advantage in their Super 10 group.

A lengthy rivalry spanning decades

The inaugral Australia v New Zealand cricket match took place back in 1878 and a healthy rivalry has pursued since then. Australia were victorious over their neighbours in the first ever international Twenty20 match 11 years ago and will be keen to repeat the result on their opening match of the tournament.

On paper a close match is expected, with New Zealand ranked third and Australia fifth in the international Twenty20 standings. Yet Steve Smith's men have four victories out of five against their rivals in the modern format of the game.

Australia regained their number one test ranking earlier in the year and have five 50-over World Cups to their name. Yet they are still searching for their first Twenty20 trophy after only making the final on one occasion. The Kiwis are also without a title but could not have asked for a better start after defeating the hosts in their opening match.

Selection dilemna for New Zealand 

Written off by some, rated as possible outsiders by the others, New Zealand struggled with the bat, scoring just 126, before a mesmerising bowling display saw them bowl out India for just 79. Despite the omission of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, the spin trio of Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Nathan McCullum picked up nine wickets between them. Captain Kane Williamson has a big decision to make on whether to stick with his successful opening squad as they attempt to overturn Australia on another turning pitch in Dharamsala.

Whilst New Zealand are riding a wave of confidence, Australia will be approaching the task with slight trepidation after losing 3-0 to India on their spinning pitches back in January. Yet you cannot write off the most successful international cricket team in history, particularly with such a strong batting line-up. Glenn Maxwell and David Warner were in fine form in their recent one day international series victory against South Africa.

Santner celebrates a wicket in his sensational spell on Tuesday (photo: Getty Images)
Santner celebrates a wicket in his sensational spell on Tuesday (photo: Getty Images)