Cricket: Blackcaps, Australia's opening Twenty20 expected to draw biggest Wellington crowd in almost a decade

Wellington's expecting the city’s largest crowd for a cricket game in almost a decade, when their regional stadium hosts the opening Twenty20 international between the Blackcaps and Australia.   

Over 22,000 fans are expected to attend - the most in the capital since the 2015 World Cup quarter-final against the West Indies.   

It comes as the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy is put on the line during a Twenty20 World Cup year.    

With so much on the line, players are hoping to put their best foot forward during the series.    

"That kind of trans-Tasman clash is always good fun," said stand-in Blackcaps captain Mitchell Santner.    

"The crowds always turn up, so I think this series will be the same."

One man who is no stranger to hitting shots into crowds is Finn Allen, who is hoping to recreate some of that magic from that 2015 World Cup game against West Indies - where Martin Guptill scored a record 237 not out.    

"That would always be nice," said Allen. "He pipped me in the longest drive last week, so I can hopefully get him tomorrow."   

Finn Allen plays a shot during the a Twenty20 international
Finn Allen plays a shot during the a Twenty20 international Photo credit: Getty Images

Allen provides one of the Blackcaps' biggest threats with the bat this series, a reality their rivals are well aware of.    

"Finn is an outstanding talent," said Australian captain Mitchell Marsh.

"Certainly, his record over the last 12 months [proves that] - especially at home in New Zealand. 

"He can take the game away from you in the powerplay."

With the next Twenty20 World Cup getting underway in less than four months, Allen knows it's vitally important to perform as both a team and as individuals.   

"There's always pressure for spots and with a big world event coming up you always want to put your best foot forward," he said.   

There's plenty to play for on both sides, as New Zealand and Australia write the next chapter of their iconic rivalry.   

Join Newshub for live updates of the opening T20 between Blackcaps and Australia at 7pm, Wednesday