The last time Australia played New Zealand in a World Cup match was in 2015 Grand Final, which Australia won by seven wickets in a low-scoring affair. Plenty has happened since then and as they will face each other this weekend.
Mitchell Starc, Player of the Tournament bowled, Brendon McCullum for a duck off three deliveries while Michael Clarke lead the Aussies with the bat with 74 in what was a passing of the baton game to Steve Smith.
Since then, it has been a near constant downfall for the Australian side; loosing veterans to father time, the ball tampering scandal and losing to India on home soil.
On the other side of things, New Zealand also lost many players to retirement as well including McCullum, spinner Daniel Vettori and allrounder Grant Elliot. They were considered a “dark horse” by many pundits and sit behind the two favorites in ICC ODI ranking at third.
Heading into this weekend’s match-up, both teams sit atop the table with only one loss each. Australia’s in their opening match against India and New Zealand against a chippy Pakistani side.
Will these two teams, both not favored to win it all heading into the tournament find themselves matched up in the Grand Final again?
David Warner and Aaron Finch have been incredible with the bat thus far with totals of 500 (83.33 average) and 496 (70.85 average) runs respectively. They’ve given Australia consistent production with at least one of them getting early runs on the board for Australia.
However, Kane Williamson and his band of merry allrounders are nothing to sneeze at. His average of 138 is the highest in the tournament (one game washed out) and someone in the middle order always steps up.
New Zealand’s bowling attack features two of the most economical in the tournament: Trent Boult and Colin Grandhomme.
It may be a silent killer to an Australian batting score as their lone loss came against India who’s top bowlers Mohammed Shami and Vijay Shankar also rank highly in terms of economy. It should be noted though, the Kiwi bowlers have held their efficiency in more than double the games.
Mitchell Starc, who praised the play of the Kiwis, has said he aims to take out Williamson in a similar fashion to McCullum in the previous World Cup.
“I still remember Starcy’s first or second ball,” vice-captain Alex Carey said.
“Absolutely [one of the great Australian World Cup moments].”
It was Starc last match who bowled Joe Root and Eoin Morgan out in the last match against England.
In a limited overs game dominated by batsmen, Starc is getting quite the reputation as an assassin, not afraid of the world-class batsmen he faces every day. If this upcoming match does happen to be a finals preview, watch our left-arm quick try and send a message to the Kiwi captain.