Tri-series: New Zealand vs England Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Will the Black Caps be able to bounce back against England following the madness of Friday's T20 against Australia?

The Kiwis and Englishmen head into what is now effectively a semi-final, after Australia went through the round-robin stage of the trans-Tasman T20I tournament undefeated.

Victory for the Black Caps will book them a berth in Wednesday's finale, while defeat by a reasonably small margin will do the same. England, meanwhile, need to win - and win big - to face Australia in the Eden Park final.

New Zealand v England | Sunday, 18 February | Seddon Park, Hamilton| 8:00

To Win Match
New Zealand 92/100 
Tie 25/1
England 92/100 

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New Zealand
The hosts might be a bit shellshocked, after battering 243 for six, only to see the Aussies surpass it with all of seven deliveries to spare earlier this week. Bouncing back from the wrong end of the highest successful chase in the history of T20I competition will take a considerable amount of steel from Kane Williamson and company.

All the bowlers copped expense in Auckland, bar Ish Sodhi. While the leg-spinner still went at almost nine runs per over, his figures were relatively cheap compared to the rest. He'll be key at Seddon Park, too, where pace off the ball might force the opposition into shaky shot selection and manufactured stroke play.

Martin Guptill and Colin Munro's absolute dominance at the top of the knock was impressive at Eden Park, but they were entirely aided by unimaginative seam bowling. England would do well to deliver the variations the Aussies didn't, with the slower ball bouncer probably quite effective on a deck expected to be less quick.

The home side will need their middle order to come the party. The decision to elevate Tim Seifert to three didn't work, while seeing Williamson come to the crease at seven was a veritable travesty. Ross Taylor, too, needs to be pushed higher - and Colin de Grandhomme left to the late-order hitting.


England took on New Zealand just five days ago, when telling contributions from Adil Rashid, Dawid Malan and Alex Hales failed to result in victory, but consolidated some of the building blocks put in place for Sunday's showdown. The former World Twenty20 champions have played a few of these high-stakes fixtures previously, but will need all their resolve to get this one right.

The participation of captain Eoin Morgan remains in the balance. He is still nursing and injury, potentially leaving Jos Buttler to captain the XI. Once again, this additional responsibility must elevate - rather than hamper - Buttler's primary role with the bat. He managed just two against the Kiwis last time, so there is vast room for improvement.

The English attack will have to find a way to successfully combat Guptill. The veteran opener gathered a handy half-century against them on Wednesday - and followed that up with an explosive ton against the Australians. His ability to get after the pace of Mark Wood should yield an intriguing contest, provided the tourists don't forsake the pace ace for spinner Liam Dawson.

The Kiwis have only lost one of their eight T20Is at Seddon Park - one of their seven victories was again England in 2013. Despite the venue being relatively small, the highest T20I total here is 202 for five. This suggests a good balance, with short boundaries countered by a potentially sluggish pitch. Rashid, then, will be a pivotal player.
Verdict: New Zealand 92/100
The host seamers will quickly learn where they went wrong against the Aussies, while the batsmen will look to replicate their recent successes over England, as the Kiwis graduate to the final.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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