Kane Williamson is leading the New Zealand side    Getty Images
Kane Williamson is leading the New Zealand side Getty Images

New Zealand will lock horns with Australia in the first One-Day International (ODI) of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday. After a disappointing Tests series against South Africa, hosts will try to shrug off the losing hangover. Talking about limited-overs cricket, Australia were whitewashed against South Africa, after which they managed to avoid a clean-sweep in whites Down Under. New Zealand, on the other hand, are oozing with confidence after winning the two-Test series against Pakistan. The rivalry between New Zealand and Australia is one of the highly spoken cricketing folklores. And one can expect the series to be a thriller.

The last time when these two teams met was earlier this year Down Under, where New Zealand registered an emphatic victory to clinch the series 2-1. Australia will be eager to seek revenge at home this time. New Zealand enter this series without the services of key players such as Ross Taylor, who is recovering from an eye injury, while Adam Milne, Mitchell McClenaghan and Corey Anderson have been ruled out due to mistimed injuries. Given their bench strength, it will also open the gates for Lockie Ferguson and Colin de Grandhomme. With Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood back into the Australian side, one can expect the intensity and level of competitiveness only to rise.

Full Cricket Scorecard: Australia vs New Zealand 1st ODI at Sydney

Top order: Martin Guptill is expected to open the batting along with Tom Latham. And with Ross Taylor being absent in the line-up, the duo will be under pressure to get runs at the top. Guptill s ODI form has not been impressive but looked in magnificent touch in the domestic circuit recently. He will be eager to make the most of his form and better his ODI tally. Latham was one of the key performers in the last ODI series against India, and will look to replicate his magical performance against Australia as well. The duo will have a tough challenge in confronting Starc and Hazlewood with the new ball. Skipper Kane Williamson will continue to bat at three, and the team s fate will rely highly on his success.

Middle order: In the absence of Taylor, the likes of Henry Nicholls, Colin Munro and Jimmy Neesham will have to pull up and make an impact. Nicholls is expected to bat at four, which will be followed by Colin Munro at five. The hard-hitting Neesham will render his all-round services at six, and his presence also adds stability and depth to the line-up. Wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling will bat at No. 7. It will be interesting to see if Ferguson or Grandhomme get a nod ahead of Henry.

Lower order and bowling: New Zealand bat deep with the availability of Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee. Santner is an impactful all-rounder with his wily left-arm spin and elegant batting, while Southee can smash the ball hard and garner some quick runs. The pace attack boasts of Southee, Trent Boult and Matt Henry. The trio wears a dominant look and has done well in the recent times. Both Boult and Southee can get the new ball to move, while Henry can exploit the Australian conditions with his sheer pace and ability to extract bounce. Santner is the only spinner in the side with Neesham being the fourth seamer.

New Zealand likely XI: Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (c), Henry Nicholls, Colin Munro, James Neesham, BJ Watling (wk), Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.

(Suraj Choudhari is a reporter with Criclife and CricketCountry. He is an avid follower of the game, and plays the sport at club level. He has a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, and tries to express it through paper and pen.)