New Zealand vs. Australia – First T20I, February 22, 2021
New Zealand and Australia kick off their five-match T20I series on Monday, February 22, with Christchurch’s Hagley Oval hosting the series opener.
The Aussies head to New Zealand as the world’s number-two ranked T20I team, while the Blackcaps currently find themselves sitting sixth in the standings.
If you’re planning to wager on the first T20I, make sure you check out my New Zealand vs. Australia prediction and betting pick below.
New Zealand vs. Australia First T20I Odds
The leading online betting sites are favoring Australia (1.76) to start the series with a win on Monday, although the odds gap is notably small for this matchup.
New Zealand (1.95) will be tough to beat on home soil, so we are likely to see a tight match between two quality sides.
New Zealand vs. Australia First T20I Preview
New Zealand claimed a 2-0 T20I series win over the West Indies at the end of 2020, with a whitewash only being prevented by rain in the third match.
Lockie Ferguson was the star of the show in the first game, claiming impressive figures of 5/21, before Glenn Phillips stole the headlines in the second match, smashing 108 runs off 51 balls to guide his side to a 72-run victory.
However, the Kiwis were made to work harder by Pakistan a month later. After claiming two narrow wins, New Zealand was beaten in the third game, winning the series 2-1.
Tim Seifert was the in-form batsman against Pakistan, registering scores of 57, 84*, and 35. If the big-hitting opener can pick up where he left off in December, the Blackcaps will cause Australia plenty of problems.
Still, it is worth considering that New Zealand has only beaten Australia twice in nine attempts in this format of the game.
The Aussies can take confidence from the fact that they have won seven of the nine T20I meetings between them and the Kiwis. However, with the last match coming back in February 2018, it is important not to read too much into that record.
Australia was beaten 2-1 by India in a three-game T20I series back in December, although it’s fair to say that all three matches were extremely close.
Having lost by just 11 runs in the first game and six wickets – with two balls to spare – in the second match, the Aussies claimed a 12-run victory in the third and final game, thanks in large part to an eye-catching 80 from Matthew Wade.
Australia’s 18-man squad has a new look to it, with youngsters such as Josh Philippe and Tanveer Sangha included on the back of impressive showings in the recent Big Bash League.
But with usual suspects like Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch also there, the Aussies don’t exactly lack experience – or quality.
New Zealand vs. Australia First T20I Betting Pick
Australia to Win1.76
The Blackcaps put in a number of positive performances against the West Indies and Pakistan towards the back end of 2020. But let’s face it – Australia poses a completely different threat altogether.
After watching countless Aussies shine in BBL 10 over the past couple of months, I’m expecting Australia to open their account with a victory on Monday.