Steve Smith benched as Australia opt for depth in AUS vs NZ 1st T20I

In a surprising move, Australia’s ODI skipper Steve Smith has been left out of the playing XI for the AUS vs NZ 1st T20I at the Sky Stadium in Wellington. Despite his recent return to the captaincy role in the ODIs against the West Indies, Smith did not find a spot in the lineup for this crucial T20 encounter.

Australia’s decision to exclude Smith underscores their depth in skilled T20 batters, with a strong emphasis on maintaining the top-three spots in the batting order. The trio of Warner, Head, and skipper Marsh, all renowned for their prowess in the shortest format, are set to open the innings, leaving no room for Smith’s inclusion.


Known for his adaptability and versatility, Smith’s recent foray into the role of an opener in Tests did not translate into a T20 opportunity. With a formidable middle-order comprising Inglis, Maxwell, and David, the Australian team management opted to solidify their lineup without Smith.

New Zealand, having won the toss, elected to bat first in the match, setting the stage for what promises to be an intriguing contest between the two cricketing rivals.

Here are the confirmed playing XIs for the AUS vs NZ 1st T20I:

Australia XI:
1. Travis Head
2. David Warner
3. Mitchell Marsh (c)
4. Glenn Maxwell
5. Josh Inglis (wk)
6. Tim David
7. Matt Short
8. Pat Cummins
9. Mitch Starc
10. Adam Zampa
11. Josh Hazlewood

New Zealand XI:
1. Finn Allen
2. Devon Conway (wk)
3. Rachin Ravindra
4. Glenn Phillips
5. Mark Chapman
6. Josh Clarkson
7. Mitch Santner (c)
8. Adam Milne
9. Ish Sodhi
10. Tim Southee
11. Lockie Ferguson

With both teams fielding strong lineups, the stage is set for an exhilarating battle between Australia and New Zealand in the 1st T20I.