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Two-time Champions Trophy winners, Australia will take on winners of the same in 2000- New Zealand on Friday. Both the teams will be facing each other in an ICC tournament after meeting each other in the 2015 World Cup final where Australia came up trumps. Since then the two teams have faced each other twice in two different series and have shared the spoils and on Friday the Trans-Tasman rivals will renew their rivalry once again.
Australia has looked strong in the warm-up matches with opener Aaron Finch smashing a century. Apart from that, the batting line-up features a strong unit of Steven Smith, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell. All of them can win matches on their day. Hence they hold the upper-hand going into their opening match of the Champions Trophy.
In the pace bowling department, Steve Smith has plenty of firepower with Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson. All the four have genuine pace and in English conditions can trouble any opposition batsman.
The Kiwis, on the other hand, had a mixed outing in the warm-up matches. While they suffered a hammering at the hands of India, against Sri Lanka Martin Guptill smashed a brilliant hundred to take the Kiwis to a much-needed win. With the confidence on their side, the likes of Tom Latham, Neil Broom, Ross Taylor and skipper Kane Williamson will look to deliver a strong performance against their Trans-Tasman rivals.
The bowling unit of Adam Milne, Trent Boult and Tim Southee can be deadly on their day but will still need to prove their mettle as they lack consistency.
Meanwhile, New Zealand coach, Hesson has said that the Kiwis will approach this game with an aggressive attitude. “You don’t want to go home feeling you haven’t fired a shot. We’ve had a bit of success against Australia in the recent past and we’ll certainly draw on that. We’re pretty clear how we want to play the game. It’s up to the opposition whether they allow us to do that,” he said.