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Cricket: Aussies hit by injury setbacks

Australia get their tour of New Zealand underway with the first of three T20 internationals in Wellington on Wednesday night.

The three matches against New Zealand will be crucial as it is the last series before the T20 World Cup takes place later in the year.

There are already some injury issues and that could open the door for some to play their way into contention for the tournament.

Australia can be backed at 6.00 to win the T20 World Cup, with New Zealand available at 9.00.

Australia have named a strong squad for the three matches and an exciting series looks to be on the cards. Let’s take a look at the opening match.

WhatNew Zealand v Australia
WhereSky Stadium, Wellington
When16:10 (AEST) Wednesday 21st February 2024
How to watchChannel 7, Foxtel, Kayo
OddsNew Zealand 2.30, Australia 1.61

WA duo ruled out

Australia have been hit by the news that West Australian duo Aaron Hardie and Marcus Stoinis will both miss out due to injury.

Stoinis, who is known for his big hitting, has pulled out with a back injury, while all-rounder Hardie has a calf niggle.

The injury is a big blow for Hardie, who is keen to force his way into the T20 World Cup squad.

It means that Spencer Johnson has received a late call-up to the squad to provide some cover.

Vice-captain Matthew Wade will also miss the opening match as his partner is due to give birth, but he should be available for the second match.

Adam Zampa’s arrival in New Zealand has been hampered by travel issues, but he should link up with the rest of the squad in time for the opening match.

The spin bowler can be backed at 5.00 to be Team – Top Bowler for the Australians.

Australia will go with a fearsome pace attack of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc for the opener.

The latter is 3.60 to be Team – Top Bowler.

David Warner is back opening the batting after retiring from Test cricket and is also priced at 3.60 to be Team – Top Batter.

Steve Smith is 4.33 but the Aussies have a side stacked with powerful hitters, any of which could take the honour.

Injury worries for home side

New Zealand also have some injury issues heading into the series and will be missing key players.

Kane Wiliamson is also waiting for the birth of his child and will miss the opening match, while Daryl Mitchell will also miss out with a foot injury.

The absence of two influential players is a big blow for the Black Caps.

Matt Henry has some hip soreness and will not play a part in Wellington and Tim Seifert is out with a torn abductor.

The injuries do however present an opportunity for Will Young and Ben Sears to step up to the plate.

Josh Clarkson is being tipped to make a big impact in this series and the big hitter can be backed at 13.00 to be New Zealand’s Team – Top Batter in the game one.

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