Auckland - Australia's Brad Haddin showered praise on Cricket World Cup co-hosts and pool rivals New Zealand on Monday, saying the Black Caps' "brave cricket" was the talk of the tournament.
New Zealand have won all three of their matches at this World Cup so far to top Pool A, while Australia thrashed arch-rivals England by 111 runs before their match against Bangladesh was washed out without a ball bowled.
The Black Caps have impressed with their bold approach in defeating Sri Lanka by 98 runs, defeating Scotland by three wickets and thrashing England by eight wickets.
Brendon McCullum's men bidding for New Zealand's first World Cup title, are all but in the quarter-finals ahead of their trans-Tasman clash against title favourites Australia in Auckland on Saturday - a match already being being billed as a dress rehearsal for the March 29 final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
As well as bragging rights, the winner of Saturday's match are likely to top the group and face a relatively weaker fourth-placed side from Pool B in the last eight.
"New Zealand are playing good cricket at the moment. They're they team everyone is talking about in this World Cup," Australia wicketkeeper Haddin told reporters on Monday.
"They are playing some brave cricket, playing with a lot of confidence. They've got dangerous batters and bowlers who are on form. We will have to bring our A-game to compete," he added.
"It will be a good test for us."
Australia will enter the match with no cricket since beating arch-rivals at the MCG on the opening day of the tournament on February 14.
Their second game against Bangladesh was abandoned completely due to heavy rain in Brisbane on Saturday, but Haddin played down the lack of match practice.
"It would have been good to get a game but we've had a long summer, so having a day off from cricket won't hurt us," said Haddin, with Australia having enjoyed a home Test and limited overs campaign against India before winning a one-day tri-series also featuring England.
"Our fast bowlers always perform better when fresh anyway," he added.
Meanwhile Haddin was looking forward to playing in front of a packed crowd in Auckland.
"I think it's obviously an exciting game. It's two host teams coming together in a World Cup match. It's obviously going to be sold out at Eden Park," he said.
Haddin highlighted the form of New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, whose stunning 25-ball 77 against England included an 18-ball fifty, the fastest in all World Cups, as an example of the aggressive approach of the Black Caps.
"He's playing some brave cricket," said Haddin. "They're all playing with a lot of confidence."
Despite all the hype around the match, the weather may yet have the final say as heavy rain has been forecast for several days including Saturday.
A no-result would benefit New Zealand more than Australia, who took only one point from their rained-off encounter with Bangladesh -- a match where they were overwhelming favourites for victory.