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Five things we learned from New Zealand v Australia T20I series

Australia took the honours in style with a 3-0 T20I series sweep of hosts New Zealand, which will have served as a major morale boost with the 20-over World Cup getting started on the first day of June.

The competition kicks off with a meeting of co-hosts United Sates with neighbours Canada in Dallas on June 1st, with 5.00 outright shots Australia beginning their campaign four days later against Oman in Barbados.

Aside from some warm-up games, the Baggy Greens have no other T20I fixtures before the tournament, so what have they learned from their clashes with the Black Caps?

Skipper Marsh a major player

Mitchell Marsh has taken to captaining the Australia T20 side like a duck to water and was key in the series against New Zealand being wrapped up with a match to spare, which he sat out.

Marsh made a crucial 72 not out as he and Tim David guided the Aussies home in the series opener, but the most exciting aspect of his play was seeing him back in action with the ball.

A long-standing ankle problem means Marsh’s bowling has to be carefully managed, but he returned overall figures of 2-39 from six overs across his two outings against the Black Caps to prove that he can still be a key contributor with the ball.

That was particularly important with fellow all-rounder Marcus Stoinis absent from the series due to a back injury.

Smith role far from certain

Steve Smith looks like far from a certain selection for the T20 World Cup, with David Warner, Travis Head and Marsh seeming certain to take the top three slots in the Aussie batting line-up.

That leaves little room for Smith to be included in the XI, with his lack of boundary-hitting ability seeming set to count against him when he is put up against the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Stoinis, David and even Matt Short for a middle-order role.

It may well be that he is left on the outside looking in for the global tournament later this year.

Johnson brings the X-factor with the ball

Tearaway left-arm quick Spencer Johnson may only have played one game in the series, but he again showed that he can bring the heat with the ball that could be a big bonus for the action in the Caribbean and the United States.

Two overs for 10 and one wicket taken is a small sample to draw from, but Johnson shone in a rain-affected series finale against the Black Caps when the willow was flying.

Johnson and the also impressive Nathan Ellis are the leading contenders for the first back-up pace role behind Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

Zampa proves his class once again

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa proved once again that he is a top-class performer in white-ball cricket, having taken 23 wickets to help Australia claim the trophy at the 50-over World Cup last year.

In 20-over cricket Zampa set an unwanted record of the most expensive figures by an Australian when going for 65 from four overs against the West Indies in Perth and was then flogged for 42 from three overs in the series opener in New Zealand.

However, those who may have doubted Zampa should know better by now and he responded by taking 4-34 in Auckland to ensure that the series with the Kiwis was decided with a match in hand.

Zampa remains an absolutely key performer for Australia in white-ball cricket.

Australia will want to shine on global stage

While success in the 50-over World Cup has been all too familiar, the Baggy Greens have made the final of the T20 World cup just twice, with their only title being claimed in 2021, when they demolished New Zealand by eight wickets in Dubai.

They are currently 5.00 to be crowned champions in 2024, with reigning champions England available at 5.00 and New Zealand out at 9.00 after being crushed by Australia on home soil.

India lead the market at 3.75, having not lifted the trophy since the inaugural tournament back in 2007, with their only other final appearance ending in defeat to Sri Lanka seven years later.

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