Live: New Zealand vs Australia first T20I

Christchurch’s Hagley Oval will host the first T20 international between New Zealand and Australia on Monday evening.

The series opener will be Australia’s first encounter with their trans-Tasman rivals since the infamous one-day clash in March last year, played in front of empty stands at the SCG.

New Zealand has only defeated Australia once in a T20 match, a narrow eight-run victory back in March 2016.

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Play is scheduled to commence at 5pm AEDT.

Pretty as a picture here at Hagley Oval for game one of #NZvAUS

Aussies warming up with a sherrin and a few other balls. Sellout of 10k + for the venue’s first night match pic.twitter.com/ZWui1LJq8F

AUSTRALIAN TEAM’S BIGGEST QUESTION MARK

With a T20 World Cup fast approaching, Australia should be close to finalising their best starting XI in the game’s shortest format.

However, there is still lingering uncertainty about who slides into the middle order of Australia’s T20 side — an issue which will hopefully be resolved over the next two weeks.

Aaron Finch and David Warner form a world-class opening partnership, while Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell should secure the No. 3 and No. 4 positions.

But after that, there are no certainties.

Australian one-day captain Aaron Finch.Source:Getty Images

Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Josh Philippe and D’Arcy Short are all Big Bash superstars, but have little experience finishing a T20 innings.

Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott and Ashton Turner has shown glimpses of their talent, but are not consistent performers on the international stage.

Meanwhile, the Big Bash League’s best finishers with the bat — Sydney Sixers stars Moises Henriques and Daniel Christian — were not named in the T20 series against New Zealand.

The Australian T20 squad features a plethora of talented opening batsmen, but it’s unfortunately slim pickings for the middle order.

NEW ZEALAND SQUAD

Kane Williamson (c), Hamish Bennett, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee

AUSTRALIAN SQUAD

Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

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