The ongoing T20I series between England and New Zealand is living up to the expectations. Both the teams have played some good brand of cricket thus far. And with the series levelled after two matches, they will look to take the decisive lead at the Saxton Oval in Nelson which could prove crucial in the context of the five-match series.
The Kiwis put up a comprehensive show in the previous game, especially with the ball, to keep the explosive English batsmen tied up. Their spinners have come to the party while the skipper Tim Southee also led from the front picking two wickets to defend what looked like an under-par score at the halfway mark. But New Zealand’s batsmen should look to make the most of the starts and currently none of them is being able to do it.
England, on the other hand, suffered a collapse with the bat in the chase. Though their aggressive approach kept them in the hunt to gun down the total. But to start with, they shouldn’t have conceded 176 thanks to the poor fielding effort. James Vince alone dropped as many as four catches while there were also a few misfields which cost the visitors the game eventually.
New Zealand are unlikely to make any changes to their line-up. With Neesham replacing Scott Kuggeleijn, they have found the perfect balance it seems. Lockie Ferguson hasn’t been impactful in the two matches he’s played so far and would like to sign off from the series with a good show. Colin Munro’s form is a worry for the management and the southpaw will be hoping to be amongst the runs soon.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Tim Seifert (WK), Colin de Grandhomme, Ross Taylor, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi.
The fraternity is waiting to see Tom Banton taking the guard for England in this series. But with Dawid Malan coming good in the previous encounter, the youngster might have to wait even more. The T20 Blast performers Patrick Brown and Saqib Mahmood have struggled so far in respective matches they’ve played. Brown might make way for Parkinson in case the visitors opt to play two leg-spinners for this match. Rest of the team should be the same.
Probable XI: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, James Vince, Eoin Morgan (C), Sam Billings (WK), Sam Curran, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Saqib Mahmood, Patrick Brown/Matt Parkinson
Focus will be on
Colin de Grandhomme (New Zealand)
Colin de Grandhomme batting at four ahead of Ross Taylor has left many perplexed. 19 and 28 are his scores so far in the series. Number four is a crucial batting position and De Grandhomme should look to convert his starts and not waste them. Taylor does that job perfectly and the all-rounder should look to do the same. He is not bowling either nowadays in the shortest format and should be scoring runs on a consistent basis.
James Vince (England)
James Vince is such a joy to watch when in full flow. His shots in the first T20I were simply superb. But it is still baffling to see that the talented batsman hasn’t sealed his place in the England side. Consistency is one of the reasons for the same and surely Vince has to come up with good numbers in this series to retain his place when the first-choice players return.
Head to Head
Matches played – 18, New Zealand won – 6, England won – 11, No result – 1
1 – Saxton Oval has hosted only a solitary Men’s T20I so far which was played between New Zealand and West Indies. The Kiwis won the game easily defending 187.
TV – Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select 1 HD
Live streaming – Hotstar
Match Timings – 2:00 PM local time; 6:30 AM IST
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