Australia is one of the best cricket teams for many reasons, and being the most successful team in the World Cup with five titles is just one of them.
Maintaining consistency, persistence, and competence are some more reasons. But, its resilient character stood underlined after the Aussies spent a night in the cellar of the points table and triumphed thrice on the bounce.
On Saturday, this resurgent side faces off with its trans-Tasman rival New Zealand, at the picturesque setting of the HPCA ground at the foothills of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges.
These teams – softened up by India – clash at a crucial stage of the league. New Zealand remained among the top-four teams despite losing to India here, while Australia made the grade after its resounding 309-run victory over the Netherlands earlier this week.
A second straight defeat could pressurise the Kiwis for the first time, while another reverse will dent Australia’s qualification chances for the semis.
Riding on victories against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Netherlands, Australia has ticked most boxes.
David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, and Glenn Maxwell are back in form, a cause of worry for the Kiwis. The pace trio of skipper Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood is slowly getting into the act, while Adam Zampa looks for a fourth four-wicket haul on the trot.
The Kiwis, despite the setback against India here, are not worried. The side has the resources to deal with the Australians in all departments. Notwithstanding the injury to Kane Williamson, New Zealand carries the belief of upstaging Australia.
With the game scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m., the toss and the dew factor may not influence the result. That said, both teams are armed with good pacers. Therefore, opting to field in the slightly nippy conditions in the early part of the first session appears a good option.
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