New Zealand and England, two teams with slightly different agendas, face off in Match 41 of the World Cup at the Riverside Ground in Durham.
Barring a complete thrashing, the Kiwis have already secured their place in next week’s semi-final stage thanks to a six match undefeated start to the tournament that has produced 11 points and a strong net run rate of +0.572.
However, the Kiwis will likely go into the knockout stage as the most vulnerable of the four nations, especially in regards to the batting lineup which has scored fewer than 240 runs in each of the last two matches (both losses).
Excluding Kane Williamson’s phenomenal tournament average of 113.50, the likes of Colin Munro (25.00), Martin Guptill (26.33), Henry Nicholls (8.00) and Tom Latham (8.20) have been unable to consistently handle short-pitched deliveries in particular.
Who knows where the team would be if not for the bowling department who, in the teams five wins, have taken ten opposition wickets in all but one match. Lockie Ferguson (17 wickets at an average of 18.58) has produced the teams best return.
For pre-tournament favourites England, the ‘It’s Coming Home’ chant, which was ringing around joyously until the shock Sri Lankan defeat, has faded over the last week as the nation’s semi-final pursuit sits in real jeopardy.
But the upside for England is that they still control their own destiny and no matter how other results go, should the home nation get the two points on Wednesday, a semi-final position is confirmed.
The last time these two teams squared off in an ODI was back in March last year, during a five-game series in New Zealand. What a cracking contest that was! Even though England took the spoils 3-2, three of the five matches were decided in the very last over of the day.
Probable Playing XI
Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (C), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid.
Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson
ENG vs NZ – Players to watch out for
The Mitchell Santner (three wickets, avg 71.00, ER 4.84) v Chris Woakes (nine wickets, avg 38.33, ER 5.75) duel is intriguing as both have run hot and cold so far in the tournament.
While few would consider Santner an all-rounder, he does have a batting average of 27.25 at a strike rate of 90.81, which actually just pips Woakes’ 25.65 average at strike rate of 90.70.
England have won six of the last eight H2H contests. From five ODI innings at the Riverside Ground, Eoin Morgan has compiled only 70 runs (average 14.00).
Against England, Colin de Grandhomme averages just 14.40 with the bat compared with a career number of 31.47.
The team batting second has won ten of 16 completed matches at this venue. Only once has a first innings total of over 300 (ENG v AUS 2018) been chased at The Riverside Ground.