New Zealand vs England: Second ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Can New Zealand go two up in their ODI series with England when the sides meet at the Bay Oval on Wednesday morning? 

The Ross Taylor of old and a couple of the Kiwis' new schoolers came to the party with the bat in the series opener in Hamilton, where a late success pledged plenty for this second match and, indeed, the remainder of the series.

England gathered a 280-plus scored and then reduced the opposition to 20-odd for three - and looked to be comfortable eventual winners. The visitors didn't have the stamina to go all the way, though, and prompt correction is required.
New Zealand v England | Wednesday, 28 February | Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui | 3:00
To Win Match
New Zealand 23/20
Tie 35/1  
England 72/100

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New Zealand
Kane Williamson's decision to bowl first almost backfired at Seddon Park, but ultimately paid off - thanks largely to Taylor, Tom Latham and Mitchell Santner. The former dug deep for a commanding century and was superbly complemented by the latter two. Santner's finishing skills, in particular, were a real treat - and spoke volumes of the Kiwis' depth.

They'll expect plenty from this depth, again, at the Bay Oval. Latham, Henry Nicholls and others are being preferred to a host of other fringe talent - and must vindicate the faith shown in them. Their individual and collective ability to successfully combat Chris Woakes, who was impressive with the new ball last week, must come to the fore.

The Black Caps were arguably a seamer light in the previous fixture, with Colin de Grandhomme unable to support Trent Boult and Tim Southee well enough. Now is not the time to replace de Grandhomme, as his lower-order hitting skills are invaluable, but he has to bowl better than he did Hamilton. Cutters and other variations, rather than predictable pace, will surely be in order.

New Zealand's ODI winning percentage at the Bay Oval sits at a mere 33, but they will take inspiration from 2016's relatively tight win over Sri Lanka here. Matt Henry took a five-wicket haul in that match - and could possibly find himself recalled in a 'horses for courses' selection, perhaps even at the expense of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.

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England
A unit that bats as deep as England will expect a hefty score, whether batting first or second, at the Bay Oval. With David Willey, Tom Curran and Adil Rashid arriving at the crease at nine, 10 and 11, respectively, there is sweet little excuse for anything under 300. One or more of Joe Root, Jos Buttler or Jason Roy, who each scored 49 or higher in Hamilton, have to kick onto three figures.

All eyes, of course, will be on Ben Stokes again. Back in the team after his off-field transgressions, he brings plenty with the bat and ball - and showed a bit of both at Seddon Park. He needs to shrug off his limitations of the past couple of months and really unleash his fullest potential again, so the selectors can feel justified in their decision to play him.

The English will be pleased enough with the way they took to Boult and Southee, but aware of the need to get on top of Santner, too. If the New Zealanders go into the game with their same bowling composition, England will certainly sense an opportunity to vehemently attack de Grandhomme and Munro in particular. 

Drawing level in this five-match affair could prompt England to get things very right for the rest of the series, while slipping to a two-nil deficit might push them down the slope even further. Captain Eoin Morgan, who missed the closing stage of the preceding T20I tri-series with the same opposition and Australia, will need to hold himself and his team accountable throughout.
Verdict: New Zealand 23/20
While Wednesday's venue hasn't been good to the Kiwis, they're on enough of a roll to at least push their ODI winning percentage in Mount Maunganui to 50 - and set a worthy precedent for the remaining three matches.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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