Australia have already qualified while New Zealand need just one win to get there, so the right thing for Australia to do is to let their trans-Tasman rivals get this win. Right? Do a bro a favour! Yeah, right. Australia conspired in 1999 to knock New Zealand out of the World Cup Super Six stage and New Zealand conspired right back at them. These two teams have been playing dirty tricks on each other in World Cups since the very start. Australia have the chance here to make New Zealand’s campaign nervous – though New Zealand’s position is only under threat if England beat India. If India win, then New Zealand can afford to lose this. They don’t want to, though.
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Five Fearless Predictions:
(1) Steve Smith will shine
Against New Zealand, we can expect them to target some of Australia’s scarier batsmen, like the two in-form openers and the big-hitting Glenn Maxwell, but there’s only so many plans you can have, and Steve Smith may just slip under the radar and come big. He’s still in great form, but hasn’t had the scores that his form should be producing so far, so it is time for him to shine.
(2) Kane Williamson will fail
He kind of failed in his last match but this time around against an Australian side who know how to target key batsmen, expect Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Jason Behrendorff especially to throw everything at Kane Williamson and work him out. When you’ve only got one batsmen worth worrying about, you have to target him.
(3) Mitchell Starc will shine
Starc will remember New Zealand from the 2015 World Cup when Trent Boult bowled Australia out cheaply only for Starc to get them oh so close, and then ripped out Brendon McCullum first over in the final. This is his favourite opposition of late, and he is the leading wicket taker. It’s a perfect storm that is bound to see Starc perform at his absolute best and rip out New Zealand’s top order.
(4) Trent Boult will have a day out
Trent Boult shared the player of the tournament award with Mitchell Starc in 2015 and this is one of his favourite opponents too, so expect the two great fast bowlers to go blow for blow here.
(5) Australia will win
Sorry, New Zealand, but your bubble has burst and that means you’re going down here. New Zealand had a good start to the tournament and they didn’t look terrible in their loss to Pakistan but Australia are in better form and are going to win this one. It’ll be fun to watch but Australia are going to come through.