New Zealand look ready to realise T20 potential
Martin Guptill can be Kiwis' game one top runscorer
Game one - Australia v New Zealand
BT Sport 2, 8.20am Saturday
New Zealand lost a recent home T20 series with Pakistan 2-1 but they still warrant a wager to triumph at the end of this month's mini-tournament involving Australia and England.
Before back-to-back defeats, the Black Caps had looked in excellent limited-overs fettle in this southern hemisphere season with openers Colin Munro and Martin Guptill in brutally magnificent touch.
And they have also managed the game-time of fellow key performers skipper Kane Williamson and left-arm pace ace Trent Boult.
The tri-series begins in Sydney on Saturday with a tasty trans-Tasman tussle and then the Kiwis will rest while the Green & Golds and Three Lions battle twice more in a ten-day spell, before hosting three games.
The final will be in Auckland and New Zealand's home clash with Australia will also take place at Eden Park, where the Kiwis won a close game in front of a partisan crowd in the group stages of the 2015 50-over World Cup and prevailed again in an ODI last year.
The Black Caps also battered England, almost before the floodlights were switched on, at the Westpac in Wellington - the venue of their first meeting.
Australia and England have refreshed their ranks with T20 specialists and quality players who were not primarily involved in the Ashes or the subsequent ODI series and have superior shortest-format head-to-head records.
However, there is a real sense that this Black Caps outfit are the most comfortable with their batting and bowling gameplans and most able to shrug off setbacks.
Guptill got a duck when Australia edged out New Zealand by one run in a 2009 T20 clash in Sydney but he is worth backing to be the top Black Caps batsman in game one.
Six of his last ten limited-overs innings have been 45 or higher and he bounced back from that 2009 second-baller at the SCG with 114 in the teams' next meeting there, a 2016 ODI. Guptill also claimed top-bat honours with 39 in a thrilling eight-run success for the Kiwis over the Aussies at the World T20 earlier that year.
New Zealand to win T20 tri-series
2pts 2-1 Coral, Ladbrokes
M Guptill top New Zealand runscorer in game one
1pt 16-5 Betfair
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