New Zealand and Australia set for T20 battle under the lights at Christchurch

Monday's series opener will be the first international played under lights at Hagley Oval as both teams take the first step in their preparation for the World T20 in India later this year.

Aaron Finch and Kane Williamson will hope both their respective teams get off to a winning start in the Road to the World T20-AP

In the new normal for professional cricketers, Australia will emerge from coronavirus quarantine on Sunday evening less than 24 hours before its five-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand begins in Christchurch.

Monday's series opener will be the first international played under lights at Hagley Oval but the action will begin only after the sellout crowd marks the 10th anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed 185 people in the city.

After a moment's silence to remember that dark day in the past, the focus will shift resolutely to the future - in particular, the World Twenty20 in October and November.

It is the one global title Australia has never won and the tourist, including three uncapped players, has the chance to prove it deserves a place in the squad to try to put that right in India later this year.

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Automatic picks David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are absent after being selected instead for the later aborted Test tour of South Africa.

That gives lesser-known players the opportunity to show the key attribute of versatility, even if skipper Aaron Finch said the number one priority was a series victory.

"The first aim is to win the series. The boys are chomping at the bit to get out and start the series," Finch told reporters on Sunday.

"But there's also a bit of information grabbing throughout the series with guys in some different roles, potentially."

Classy side

New Zealand, which will play in a retro beige kit, has assembled its strongest squad to take on the Australians, including pace-bowling sensation Kyle Jamieson and batting mainstay Kane Williamson.

The Black Caps have never made it past the semifinals at the World T20 and coach Gary Stead believes a "dangerous" Australia, featuring many of the form players from the recently completed Big Bash tournament, will be a good test for them.

"You could argue this is the form team of the Big Bash that's over here right now," Stead said.

"Yes, they may not have some of those names that we expect to see, but when you look through their lineup they're still class right the way through," he added.

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