Aussies have an upper hand over Kiwis
It is not that New Zealand has a great overall ODI record against Australia. A statistic that shows 84 defeats as opposed to just 34 wins is anything but flattering.
However, what should worry the Black Caps more than the above figures ahead of the World Cup Group A match, on Friday, is their abysmal record against their neighbours in matches played on Indian soil.
From the first meeting between the neighbours -- a 1987 World Cup match in Indore -- to their last -- a Champions Trophy encounter at the PCA Stadium in Mohali in November 2006, New Zealand have never beaten Australia on Indian soil.
And that period includes a total of seven One-day matches, rather seven successive defeats for the Black Caps. The first three defeats have come in World Cup matches -- two in the 1987 edition and one when it was played in 1996.
Add to it Australia's win in the 2002 Champions Trophy match at the SSC (Colombo) -- the only match played between the neighbours on Sri Lankan soil -- and comes out the fact that the New Zealand team is yet to solve the Australian puzzle in the subcontinent.
It is imperative here to mention that no matches have been played between the two countries in either Pakistan or Bangladesh thus far.
Image: Australian Team celebrates after winning the match against Zimbabwe
Ability to spring a surprise
Blame it on their minimum batting strength, limited bowling arsenal or lack of quality spinners, the fact remains that New Zealand's record against their neighbours on Indian soil is, bluntly put, appalling.
The present Kiwi team isn't much different from its predecessors -- in terms of talent. And their recent head-to-head record against their neighbours isn't very encouraging either -- the Black Caps have just four wins in their last 15 encounters against Australia.
Add to the fact that the four-time champions haven't lost in their last 30 matches in the World Cup and it seems highly unlikely that the Black Caps will manage to reverse the trend.
However, on a positive, New Zealand do have the ability to spring a surprise every now and then -- that is probably one of the reasons for them not being taken lightly in this version by their opponents. And therein lies the hope of an upset result.
Image: New Zealand's Nathan McCullum during a practice session
A bit of luck
What Daniel Vettori's men will need though is a bit of luck on their side.
Will the Black Caps break the jinx this time? Will they manage to score a first ever win over Australia (on Indian soil) on this occasion?
Or will the Australians continue their stranglehold over their neighbours?
These questions will be answered come Friday.
Image: Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill celebrate after winning their match against Kenya