New Zealand vs England: Fifth ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

New Zealand and England go head to head the fifth and final ODI of this series to be hosted by the Hagley Oval with the series locked at 2-2.

A thoroughly entertaining, high-scoring fourth ODI has set the five-match series up for a cracking decider on the weekend, when New Zealand will look to reassert their dominance at home.

The England batsmen pledged plenty, but ultimately failed to deliver in Dunedin - and need to repay captain Eoin Morgan's faith that it won't happen again 72 hours after the fact.

New Zealand v England | Saturday, 10 March | Hagley Oval, Christchurch | 0:00

To Win Match
New Zealand 23/20
Tie 35/1
England 72/100

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New Zealand
The debate throughout the series has centered around who should play between Ish Sodhi and Lockie Ferguson. Sodhi has won the argument for the most part, but after Tim Southee's extreme expense in the fourth match, there might be space for them both. An all-important series decider might not be the right time to rest a veteran seamer, but Southee hasn't been at his best lately - and Ferguson is bursting to perform.

The Kiwis' ability to recover from the fragility of two for two, after both openers perished for ducks in Dunedin, was superb. It's this resilience and collective fight that will be in high demand again - and the team will surely look to oblige Ross Taylor's master class earlier this week with a substantially stronger showing around him this time.

Taylor was simply magnificent - and hopefully injury won't catch up with him and rule him out of the fifth match. He, alongside Kane Williamson, offer an otherwise young middle order the experienced backbone required in pressure situations. Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls and company are getting there, but it's too soon for them to be leading the charge.

England have to find a way to successfully combat Colin de Grandhomme. His lower-order hitting is coming off far too often, much to New Zealand's delight. Tom Curran, in particular, will need to be less predictable with his slower deliveries, while roping in left-arm seamer David Willey at the expense of right-arm fast bowler Mark Wood could be the tonic, too.


Morgan was quick to point out that the tourists can't climb to 267 for two, only to falter to 335 for nine. Middle-order collapses, after Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root score centuries, are just not on. Morgan, though, was wise in insisting this is not an ongoing problem - and there is no genuine cause for concern just yet. If the same happens in Christchurch, however, there certainly will be.

The English have threatened throughout the series - and now really is the time they convert this into ultimate triumph. They couldn't do so in Dunedin and if they don't in Christchurch, plenty of questions will be asked of their big match temperament - and an apparent inability to capitalise on the key battles within the war.

Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid will have an important role to play in tandem, at a venue that also has small boundaries - and has seen many spinners targeted. The Black Caps, in fact, have never lost an ODI here in eight attempts from opposition vast and varied. England played Scotland at the venue during the World Cup in 2015, when Ali starred with bat and ball.

It'll be a real pity if inclement weather intervenes in Christchurch, so here's hoping the 70 percent chance of rain predicted for Friday doesn't extend its stay to Saturday. If there is a bit of damp around, though, the toss-winning captain should be encouraged to bat first against a slippery ball - and later defend when conditions are easier for fielding.

Verdict: New Zealand 72/100
While the Kiwis haven't won as many games in this five-fixture affair as they would have liked, a third will be enough to seal yet another ODI series victory at home for Williamson's team.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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