New Zealand won the first of five ODIs between themselves and England by 3 wickets in a thrilling encounter that went down to the last over. After finding themselves reeling at 27-3, Latham and Taylor put up a 178 run partnership to bring them back into the game. Mitchell Santner’s 45 in 27 ensured a Kiwi victory.
England were in the game even after Latham and Taylor’s dismissal, but they failed to seal the game yet again. Will they be successful in the second ODI, or will New Zealand have their 10th straight ODI victory?
Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Jason Roy, Craig Overton
Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ish Sodhi
Where the Teams Stand
Twice in the last match, England forced New Zealand into a corner with their bowling. They took three wickets in a short space twice but allowed the Kiwis to recover both times. Santner had the highest strike rate of any batsman by far, something the English simply cannot allow if they want to win close games like the last one. Besides this, England had a decent game last time. 284 was a decent score after 50 overs, and no bowler finished with an economy in excess of 6. They just need to provide the ‘killing blow’ to ensure victory.
Jason Roy getting some runs under his belt is a good sign after his recent string of failures in the T20s. Root and Buttler crossed 70 while Stokes will probably need another game or two to start hitting the ball like he used to. Morgan is another player who has not done well in the recent past, but he has a knack for coming up with match-winning performances when all the rest fail. As captain, he needs to start playing those kinds of innings’ more often. The outcome for the second game, like the first, will rely heavily on the team batting first and the kind of target they set for the chasing team. Given both teams’ ability to chase down any score due to the firepower in their ranks, batting second seems to be the best option for both sides.
The Kiwis were fortunate that on the day their openers failed, the middle order remained stable and took their team to victory. However, they do need contributions from the other batsmen. It’s either the openers or either of Latham-Taylor and Williamson-Taylor saving the day for the Kiwis. If more batsmen batted consistently, it would take the pressure off the entire lineup considerably. Nicholls and de Grandhomme remain the X-factors for the side, especially considering their unreliability. As mentioned before, the Kiwis do possess the lineup to chase any total, but more than two people need to be doing it at any time.
The decision to play two spinners worked out for New Zealand, unlike England. Sodhi and Santner picked up two wickets each, while the latter also contributed heavily with the bat. Southee was exceptional up-front, staying economical over 10 overs. This is a key difference in how the bowlers operated in the last match. Kiwi spinners took 5/7 wickets taken by bowlers, whereas English spinners took only 1/7. While Boult managed the other 2 wickets for the home side, he was also their most expensive bowler, conceding 64 in 10 overs. Regardless, though they won the last match, the second game is still evenly balanced, but the momentum is definitely with the home side.
New Zealand win. They have proved their versatility through their victory in the last game, which might just give them the edge over England.