ICC: England take on New Zealand in a do-or-die clash in the sixth Twenty20 International of the triangular series in Hamilton on Sunday, 18 February, for a chance to play Australia in the final.
Australia’s record run-chase in their last league match against New Zealand on Friday meant England still have a chance to make it to the final, but only if they beat New Zealand by a handsome margin. The home side, with two points from one win, hold the edge with a better net run rate.
New Zealand’s top order of Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and Kane Williamson has been in brilliant form, providing the team a strong foundation. In the middle order, they have young talents in Mark Chapman and Tim Seifert, the wicket-keeper batsman, the experience of Ross Taylor and an all-rounder in Colin de Grandhomme. However, their inability to make good of strong starts has been their undoing.
In the bowling department, there are some issues to address, especially following their defeat to Australia in the previous game, where David Warner’s men chased down a record 244-run target. With very little assistance for bowlers at Eden Park, they looked to vary their line and length, but in the process ended up conceding 18 wides. That indiscipline will be a matter of concern, especially with another batting-friendly track expected at Seddon Park.
England, who are yet to register a win, will be boosted by the return of Eoin Morgan, their limited-overs captain, who was out of action with a groin injury. They have hard-hitting batsmen in Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Dawid Malan at the top of the order, followed by Morgan, Jos Buttler and Sam Billings in the middle, who all have the potential to milk runs, provide depth and reliability.
Liam Plunkett has been ruled out of the remainder of the series after the recurrence of a hamstring strain, but that won’t worry England much, as they have David Willey, Tom Curran, Mark Wood and Chris Jordan to cover up the loss. They also have a spinner in Adil Rashid, who could ably assist England’s pacers.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Mark Chapman, Tim Seifert (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ben Wheeler, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Anaru Kitchen.
England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.