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12 Feb 2018

New Zealand vs England: Fourth T20I squads, preview, and prediction

Picture Credit: arriba

Overview 

New Zealand and England are both yet to open their accounts in the ongoing tri-series between them and Australia. They both have been unable to beat the home side, on one and two occasions respectively. To make things worse, the captains of both teams are battling injury and are doubts for the game. 

With these teams struggling to make an impact, and now hampered by injury, which team will win the match to give themselves a better chance of progressing to the final against Australia?

Squads 

New Zealand 

Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Tim Seifert, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ben Wheeler, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Anaru Kitchen, Mark Chapman, Henry Nicholls

England

Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Jake Ball

Where the teams stand 

New Zealand 

When it comes to bowling, the Kiwis have a far superior attack. Trent Boult is arguably one of the best new ball bowlers around, and Southee is a veteran of the Black Caps. Mitchell Santner is another one with a knack for breaking partnerships. While three bowlers are vying for the fourth slot, New Zealand do not possess a viable fifth option. Though Colin de Grandhomme is an all-rounder who can certainly bowl, he is not a reliable option. This is one area where the English trump the Kiwis, possessing five frontline bowlers. However, the quality is definitely higher in the Kiwi ranks. 

The Black Caps have several batsmen who can hit the ball long. However, one of them, Colin Munro, has been in terrible form recently, and his reliability is uncertain. Still, Guptill, Taylor, and de Grandhomme are all fit and will be the ones tasked with scoring the bulk of the runs. de Grandhomme was in good form against Australia, scoring 38 from 24, and he will need to put in a similar performance for his team to succeed. Williamson, even if he plays, is unlikely to be fully fit but even then he is a better option than Nicholls. However, his experience might make all the difference under pressure. 

England 

England will be hoping Munro’s poor form continues. If Williamson misses out, there will be some huge boots to fill at the one down spot, which looks very vulnerable in his absence. Willey has been the one to give England early breakthroughs in both matches, but has ended with an economy of over 8 in both as well. Jordan took 2 wickets in the last match, but he is also usually expensive. Curran has had economies of over 9.5 in both the previous matches. Rashid, Dawson, and Wood have all conceded far too many as well. This is a severe issue for the English, and they need to find a way to curb the run flow. 

Jason Roy and Alex Hales need to start giving England better starts. With a brittle middle order even with Morgan, things might get a lot worse without him. If they can hold steady for at least the first six overs, England will be assured a good start. Buttler will be key in the middle order, especially towards the death. Malan will be tasked with stabilization, given his affinity to playing the anchor role. If they can bowl well, this game could go either way. 

Prediction 

New Zealand win. England’s bowling is far too weak to win, based on their performances this series. Their batting is also precarious, making victory a distant possibility unless they play out of their skins or New Zealand suffer a spectacular collapse.