England take on New Zealand in Chester-Le-Street as both countries play their final group games. The winner is guaranteed a semi-final berth and the loser destined for a nervous wait on other results.
ENGLAND REGAIN BELIEF AS KIWIS STUTTER
After claiming six early wins New Zealand have lost successive games to Pakistan and Australia and their once impregnable position in the table has become more fragile. If they beat England they qualify.
There is every chance a defeat would still see them survive because of a strong net run rate. Conspiracy theorists note – if New Zealand and England tie after an India victory over Bangladesh both teams progress regardless of what Pakistan can do due to a far superior net run rate.
World number one side England seemed to have thrown away host nation advantage with successive defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia. The pre-tournament favorites seemed to have succumbed to the pressure of expectation but bounced back with a commanding performance against trophy rivals India.
The team had played with a nervousness not seen as they have rewritten ODI tactics in the last four years. With positivity returned, Eoin Morgan’s team can effectively now view this trip to the north-east as a quarter-final as they bid to claim their first 50-over world crown.
PLUNKETT AND ROY LOOK SET TO CONTINUE
There are unlikely to be any changes to an England side buoyed by Sunday’s success. Liam Plunkett dislodged the spin of Moeen Ali and claimed three wickets. There is little coincidence that England has won the World Cup matches that the unheralded Plunkett has played and lost the ones he’s missed. He has the glorious habit of taking wickets in the middle overs and with Chester-Le-Street likely to aid seam is unlikely to lose his place again.
Joe Root has 476 tournament runs behind him and is incredibly consistent. Jofra Archer’s 16 wickets at a meager 5.01 per over have also been a key factor in England’s successes. Chris Woakes also looks to be back to his best with the ball. England are in a good place where all of their starting XI are contributing along the way.
Jason Roy made a productive return against India after his hamstring injury but didn’t field after taking a knock on his hand. His 160-run partnership with centurion Jonny Bairstow is key and set the tone in an aggressive England display. Ben Stokes has been superb with the bat, but the jury remains out on his contribution with the ball where he appears to have lost his mojo. Jonny Bairstow is currently 2/1 on the bet365 app to be the top England batsman for the second game in a row.
New Zealand has relied heavily on skipper Kane Williamson’s 454 tournament runs at an average of 113.50. With the ball, Trent Boult claimed a hattrick in a four-wicket display against Australia. His left-arm threat has earned him 13 wickets at an economy rate of 4.55. The pace of Lockie Fergusion has claimed 17 scalps so far at just 4.96 per over. Mitch Santner’s spin has not been the potent weapon the Kiwi’s would have hoped.
All-rounders Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandholme have been required to chip in too much down the order as the top five around Williamson have not scored consistent runs. The vastly experienced Martin Guptil and Ross Taylor were key to New Zealand’s charge to the final four years ago and need to stand up if they are to go one better this time around. Opener Henry Nicholls started against Australia but didn’t contribute and could lose his place to Colin Munro. Tim Southee is fit again but is struggling to force his way back into a settled seam attack. With spin expected to be a secondary consideration in the north-east Matt Henry could return to the line-up at the expense of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.
New Zealand are a well-balanced side and England would be fools to underestimate the threat they pose. However, if England brings their A-game there are few sides that can live with them.
The host nation has won six of their last eight ODIs against the Black Caps, have renewed belief from the win against India and should power into the semi-finals with momentum on their side. Here are our predictions along with odds from our best cricket betting apps –
- England to win at 2/5 doesn’t provide huge value but is the obvious play.
- Joe Root to be England’s top batsman at 3/1 (SkyBet)
- Kane Williamson to be Top New Zealand batsman at 23/10 (BetFred App)
England to hit Most Sixes at 8/13 (William Hill App) – England in victory and defeat have consistently cleared the ropes more than their opponents.