Australia v New Zealand

Australia start their World Cup campaign in Dharamsala - never heard of it? Not surprising as the only time this venue hosted two Test-playing nations in the shortest format of the game was in 2015, where South Africa and India compiled 499 runs for only eight wickets. In the last fixture played at the HPCA Stadium, Bangladesh smashed 180 for only two wickets, so could we be in for a run fest today?

Australia’s opposition, New Zealand, come into the fixture brimming with confidence after beating hosts and favourites India in the opening game. The Kiwi’s may be without McCullum but his brash style of cricket lives on in the team. Dropping Boult and Southee for Nathan McCullum and Ish Sodhi in their previous game was ludicrous. Their victory was just as much about them being brilliant as it was India being terrible - hats off to Mitchell Santner, but he should not be allowed to have that sort of game on the biggest stage.

Even though spin won New Zealand the game against arguably the best spin-playing nation, we still feel the Kiwi’s spinners are suspect. Their strength lies in the top order batting which was ripped through by the Indians, take Guptil and Anderson out the picture and they lack firepower.

The Aussies on the other hand are full of big hitters, Finch, Warner, Smith, Maxwell, Faulkner all capable of clearing the ropes. It’s impossible to raise concerns about Australia’s batting order, however their bowling is a different story. As mentioned, they’ve just come back from fast and bouncy wickets in South Africa, which is something you definitely don’t associate with Indian tracks. Without a proven spinner in their ranks they’ll be relying heavily on medium paces from Watson, Marsh and Faulkner.

We’re backing Australia to take the spoils in the southern hemisphere clash, their exploding batting line up will be far too much for New Zealand’s attack. The Kiwi’s might be licking their lips looking at the Aussies bowling attack, however we think the change of pace could be effective in Indian conditions.

Faulkner is a vital cog in the Australian engine, with both bat and ball. We think he’ll have a massive impact on this clash with the latter. The Tasmanian has gained vital experience of playing in these conditions from representing three IPL franchises. Faulkner will bowl the majority of his overs at the back-end of the innings, where the Kiwi flaky middle order will be looking to accelerate. He’s well worth backing to be Australia’s top wicket taker at $4.25.

Oddschecker’s best bet

Bet365 have priced Australia as outsiders to hit the most sixes today, which seems an absurd price when you compare the firepower in both batting line-ups. The likes of Warner, Finch and Maxwell will be licking their lips at the chance of facing Santner.

For a limited time only you can get $6.60 for Finch to top score and Australia to win with Palmerbet
Australia - 1pt @ 1.62
James Faulkner - 1pt @ 4.25
Australia - 1pt @ 2.1