Brisbane: Ahead of their Pool A encounter Saturday, all-rounder Steven Smith believes Australia need to be at the top of their game to have any chance of beating World Cup co-hosts New Zealand.
The Black Caps have been in terrific form, having beaten Sri Lanka, Scotland and England on the trot. They take on Australia at Eden Park in Auckland next.
“We've got to be on top of our game to beat them,” Smith was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia (CA) Sunday ahead of their Feb 28 encounter.
Smith said he watched how New Zealand demolished England and believes they are a force to reckon with in their own backyard.
“We saw bits and pieces (of the England game). They bowled really well, the New Zealanders, and the ball swung round for most of the innings. I don't think England played all that well at the same time but they're a tough opposition and they're playing some very good cricket in their own backyard,” said the 25-year-old.
Smith added that he wishes the Black Caps will provide them with the same kind of pitches at the net, replicating the ones in the ground so that they can prepare accordingly.
"The wickets are probably a little bit slower than what we are used to here. Hopefully, the nets replicate what we're going to get out in the middle and we can get used to it that way. We'll have a chance to see the wicket when we get over there and can prepare accordingly,” said the Sydney-born.
The Australian squad arrives in Auckland Sunday evening and will hold their first training session at Eden Park Monday afternoon.