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Australia confirm openers for New Zealand series, Steve Smith's role remains puzzle

Australia are set to lock horns against New Zealand in a three-match T20I series at the latter's home. Ahead of the series, T20 captain Mitchell Marsh has confirmed the top order of the team. The series will be Australia's last T20 assignment before the big-ticket World Cup in June this year.

Varun Malik Written By: Varun Malik @varunm0212 New Delhi Published on: February 20, 2024 16:14 IST
Australia cricket, David Warner
Image Source : GETTY Australian cricket team players.

Australia's T20 captain Mitchell Marsh has confirmed Australia's top-order for the upcoming series against New Zealand and provided clarity as to who are set to be the top three in the T20 World Cup 2024. The Aussies are set to embark on their final T20 assignment before the prestigious tournament in USA and West Indies. Marsh has confirmed that their top-order is "pretty set" but there remains puzzle around the role of Steve Smith.

Speaking a day ahead of the series opener in Wellington, Marsh has confirmed that David Warner and Travis Head will be the openers, while he himself will remain at number three for at least in the series against the Kiwis with the top-order likely to be the same for the World Cup too. Notably, Smith's role is still not confirmed with the slots being narrowed down. Glenn Maxwell's jaw-dropping century against West Indies make him an automatic pick at number four with Josh Inglis and Matthew Wade taking one spot. Tim David's recent expoloits make him hard to rule out, which brings Smith's role under question. 

On being asked on how the middle-order will stack-up, the T20 skipper Marsh said, "You'll have to find out, we'll announce our team at the toss." He added that certain players are set to bat in different slots. "There will be certain guys that probably bat in different positions than they have done in the past, but ultimately we're here to win the series. I've batted three for the last 18 months, so I'll be there to start with. And obviously Heady and Davey Warner have been amazing for us over the last period of time, so I daresay that will be the top three," he added.

'Players like Tim David rarity': Marsh

The star all-rounder stated that players like Tim David a rarity and his performances at five and six have been crucial for the 2021 World Cup winners. "I think players like Tim (David) are a rarity, and it (number six) is probably the hardest role within T20 cricket. We're lucky to have him. He's become a phenomenal player in that role and there's no doubt he's going to play a big part for us," he said on David.

The three-match T20I series will act as the final 20-over series for the Aussies. The series will start on February 21 in Wellington, followed by the second and the third contests on February 23 and 25 both in Auckland.

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