England World T20 preview: New Zealand

Two nerve-jangling wins over Afghanistan and Sri Lanka followed the record-breaking victory over South Africa and Trevor Bayliss’ buoyant boys are in the ICC World Twenty20 semi-finals.

England’s death bowler Ben Stokes said in the aftermath of the progression-clinching 10-run win over Sri Lanka that he would “much rather be doing that last-over thing than sitting there watching and hoping whoever bowls it gets us through.”

And England fans firmly want the ball in his hands too if the gun all-rounder can bowl three dot balls to a pumped-up Angelo Mathews and comfortably defend 15 runs for the win.

Stokes’ icy resolve backed up a brilliant 37-ball unbeaten 66 from broad-shouldered Jos Buttler and accurate, clinical bowling from David Willey (2-26) at the start and Chris Jordan (4-28) at the end.

That level of quality will be necessary against a New Zealand side that is ranked second in the world and has serenely sailed through the group stages with four wins.

England celebrate their victory over Sri Lanka which secured an ICC World Twenty20 semi-finals place

Would you traditionally expect a spin examination from the Black Caps in the sub-continent? Since leaving classy pace duo Trent Boult and Tim Southee on the sidelines for the first game against hosts India, New Zealand’s spinners have been one of the tournament’s most effective features.

Mitchell Santner (9-86), Ish Sodhi (8-78) and Nathan McCullum (3-21) have combined for 20 wickets, while leg-spinner Sodhi boasts an economy rate of 4.97. Admittedly they have benefitted from some prodigiously turning pitches, but the wins carved out by Kane Williamson’s side have been characterised by the adaptability that is the captain’s hallmark.

England have the advantage of a third successive match in Delhi while New Zealand are set for a fifth different venue in as many matches. The speed at which they can read the surface and conditions could be the determining factor in trying to limit England’s big-hitting, deep batting line-up.

Boasting an eight to four win ratio in this format, England defeated New Zealand by six wickets in a World Cup warm-up after Jason Roy and Alex Hales put on 77 runs in 8.2 overs.

But a World T20 semi-final is a different matter entirely for Eoin Morgan and his fearless young team, with the spine-tingling prospect of facing India in the final if the hosts can overcome West Indies in the other semi. It does not get much bigger.

When? Wednesday 30 March

Where? Kotla, Delhi

Start? 14:30

How to keep up with the action?

Live on Sky Sports

Live on BBC Test Match Special

Live updates on @EnglandCricket on Twitter and England Cricket Facebook

Daily reports, interviews and features on ECB.co.uk 

The squads

England

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Sam Billings (Kent), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Liam Dawson (Hampshire), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), Reece Topley (Hampshire), James Vince (Hampshire), David Willey (Yorkshire).

New Zealand

Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi

Big game for…

Adil Rashid

Up against the stellar performances from the Black Caps spinners, Adil Rashid’s return has been modest. Despite not being treated to spinning wickets in Mumbai and Delhi, the 29-year-old will be disappointed with four wickets and an economy rate of 9.45. The 2016 Big Bash League star remains a key part of England’s wicket-taking department and with two matches’ more experience at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, will be intent on “out bowling” his in-form counterparts. And therein controlling the commanding presence of Martin Guptill if he emerges from the powerplay unscathed.

Kane Williamson

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is yet to produce a telling score in a significant match in the tournament, sitting at 23rd in the run-scoring charts with 91. The stylish 25-year-old is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world across all formats and has a relentless appetite for runs. Intriguing head-to-head battles are at every turn but none seems more obvious than his with Joe Root. If Williamson goes hard and bats deep from his position at the top of the order it will have a telling impact on the outcome. 

Quotes from the captains

Eoin Morgan: “New Zealand have played probably the best cricket of the group stages.

“In my experience of getting to the knockout stage in any tournament you have done the hard work and it is almost now that you have earned a licence to go out and express yourself as much as you can.

“Can I believe how far we’ve come? Absolutely not. I’ve been asked the question after every series that we’ve played, and I can’t quite believe how far we’ve come overall in our white-ball cricket.”

Kane Williamson:  “It’s a big, exciting match but our feet are firmly on the ground and we are going to perform our plans as best as we can.

“We’ve simply tried to pick horses for courses, our best team for the conditions against the opposition at any given time and that certainly won’t change.

“England have been fortunate to play on these conditions a couple of times but I think in Twenty20 cricket, anything can happen.”

Previous meetings

23 June 2015 in Manchester: England won by 56 runs

22 March 2014 in Chittagong: New Zealand won by nine runs

27 June 2013 at The Oval: no result

25 June 2013 at The Oval: New Zealand won by five runs

15 February 2013 in Wellington: England won by 10 wickets 

World T20 results/fixtures

England

16 March in Mumbai: lost to West Indies by six wickets

18 March in Mumbai: beat South Africa by two wickets

23 March in Delhi: beat Afghanistan by 15 runs

26 March in Delhi: beat Sri Lanka by 10 runs

New Zealand

15 March in Nagpur: beat India by 47 runs

18 March in Dharamsala: beat Australia by eight runs

22 March in Mohali: beat Pakistan by 22 runs

28 March in Kolkata: beat Bangladesh by 75 runs

Did you know?

England have an eight to four win-loss ratio against New Zealand, including a six-game wining run between 2008 and 2013.

England have made 170 plus in nine of their last 13 T20 internationals.

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill is ranked third in T20 cricket, recently replacing England’s Alex Hales, who has dropped to fifth.

Mitchell Santner’s nine wickets in the Super-10s stage is the joint most with Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman.

New Zealand are ranked second in the world in T20 cricket. England are fifth.


Source: ECB

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