Tri-series: New Zealand v England Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We preview the tri-series clash between New Zealand and England set to take place at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Tuesday 13 February. 

The New Zealand leg of the Trans-Tasman tri-series starts in Wellington, where the hosts must shake off some downtime rust after not playing since the tournament opener, which was all of 10 days ago.

England, meanwhile, need to bounce back from back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Australians, who have already qualified for the final - and are just waiting on 21 February's opposition.

New Zealand v England | Tuesday, 13 February | Westpac Stadium, Wellington | 8:00
To Win Match
New Zealand 91/100
Tie 35/1 
England 91/100

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New Zealand
The Kiwis will demand a marked improvement from their top order, which failed entirely in the series opener. Their top four batsmen managed a 19 runs between them, while the remainder of the specialists were guilty of not converting a couple of promising starts. All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme can't be relied on all the time to deliver late-order lusty blows in the absence of others.

Wicketkeeper Tim Seifert and batsman Mark Chapman have been called up, with the former on the brink of an international debut and the latter close to representing a second country, having played two ODIs and 19 T20Is for Hong Kong previously. Chapman's inclusion is justified, on the back of a string of good form at domestic level, but Seifert's arrival compounds the Black Caps' muddled approach to picking wicketkeeper-batsman.

New Zealand's jam-packed touring schedule might be catching up with them - and England need to pounce. Former fast bowler-turned-pundit Simon Doull has called for skipper Kane Williamson and coach Mike Hesson to be replaced in the T20 set-up, which should afford them less stress and strain. For now, though, they remain - and a win on Tuesday will vindicate their ongoing presence.

The home side's bowling strength will be key against a powerful opposition order. Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan and company can be entirely dangerous if allowed to get going, so the opening powerplay will be an instrumental period in the overall contest. Trent Boult and Tim Southee, then, in tandem with the new ball - in familiar conditions - are primed for big roles.

 YESWENA

England 
The participation of Eoin Morgan remains in the balance. He was sidelined by a groin injury last week - and might not recover in time for Tuesday's showdown. If Morgan does not play, Jos Buttler will lead the side again - and evidently this empowers rather than hampers his primary role with the bat. Buttler, one surmises, could go quite big in Wellington.

The New Zealanders have won five of their eight T20Is at Westpac Stadium. One of their three defeats was against England, in 2013, when Hales struck a brisk 80 not out in a convincing chase after Stuart Broad and Jade Dernbach had shared six key wickets. The seam duo are no longer in T20I favour, leaving Tom Curran and Chris Jordan to fill the gap - and repeat the success - accordingly.

The decision to play spinner Liam Dawson ahead of fast bowler Mark Wood against the Aussies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was a reasonable selection, but they must revert to the original combination in Wellington. Dawson could stay, but then must really justify the faith in him with an outstanding four-over allotment. New Zealand's batsmen, though, will target him.

Australia have already qualified for the final, so this match - and the same encounter later this week - is effectively a spar for the other berth in next week Wednesday's showpiece. Ross Taylor spoke about New Zealand's inability to absorb pressure appropriately recently - and here's another area the English can capitalise, provided they nullify their own pressure.

Verdict: New Zealand 91/100
Williamson's team have home ground advantage and were the top-ranked T20I team until a couple of weeks ago. They also sport the services of the current number one and number three - Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, respectively - T20I bowlers. They won't lose.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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