- Fresh from annihilating England in the Ashes, Australia were disappointing in the subsequent ODI series as they went down 4-1. They last played a T20 international in October, when their series against India was left tied at 1-1 following an abandonment in Hyderabad.
- England continued their impressive white-ball form with their comprehensive ODI series victory over Australia, but they have not been quite as consistent in T20 action. They beat South Africa 2-1 last summer, before losing the one-off match against West Indies in September.
- New Zealand have just lost a T20 series 2-1 to Pakistan, having thrashed the same opponents 5-0 in the ODI leg of the tour. The Black Caps also dominated a T20 series against West Indies just after Christmas and have been in excellent form across all formats during their home summer.
It is hard to split all three of these teams in T20 cricket. Australia were criticised for their disappointing batting during the ODI series against England and have rested a couple of their frontline pace bowlers for this tournament ahead of their Test tour of South Africa. However, the squad has been refreshed by a number of dynamic players who will be firmly switched onto the T20 mindset after playing in the Big Bash, with D’Arcy Short, Chris Lynn and Billy Stanlake among those looking to catch the eye.
England have sent Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali home for a short rest and it remains to be seen when all-rounder Ben Stokes will be able to link up with the squad after his planned comeback was delayed so that he could appear in court to answer a charge of affray. Trevor Bayliss’ side nevertheless have enough powerful batters at their disposal to frighten any opposition, and still have the most experienced squad in the event.
Of all three teams, it might be worth a flutter on New Zealand, who will share hosting duties with Australia and will be desperate to be present at their own party when Auckland stages the final on 21st February. There is a good balance to their attack, with Trent Boult and Tim Southee lethal new-ball bowlers and Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi forming an excellent spin duo. Martin Guptill and Colin Munro are also capable of setting a blistering tone with the bat in the Power Play, backed up by a formidable middle order of captain Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
- New Zealand to win the T20 tri-series
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.