New Zealand v England Fourth T20
Tuesday February 13 – 5:00pm AEDT
With the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series moving south to Wellington, both New Zealand and England will be hoping they can open their accounts with a win at Westpac Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Black Caps were ambushed in the series opener by Australia as they succumbed by seven wickets in a rain-reduced affair. After losing the toss and being sent into bat New Zealand failed to handle the pace and seam of the Aussies’ new ball bowlers as they sunk to 4/34 in the eighth over with their struggles illustrated by captain Kane Williamson’s laboured knock of eight off 21 balls. Some late hitting from all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme (38 not out off 24 balls) managed to drag the Kiwis to a mediocre 9/117 off their 20 overs.
Inclement weather in the break reduced Australia’s target to 95 off 15 overs and although Trent Boult (2/14 off three overs) did some early damage, the Kiwis were never really in the contest as their meagre target was mopped up inside 12 overs for the loss of only three wickets. In reaction to the loss New Zealand have included promising batsmen Mark Chapman and Tim Seifert in place of Tom Bruce and Tom Blundell in the wider squad.
England find themselves in a desperate situation, having dropped both of their opening games to the in-form Australians with the most recent loss coming at the MCG on Saturday night. Batting first England faced similar issues with the new ball as they stammered to 3/34 after four overs. Stand-in captain Jos Buttler begun the revival with a less-than-fluent 46 off 49 balls, finding some support from James Vince (21 off 21 balls) and Sam Billings (29 off 23 balls) to enable the Three Lions to post a competitive 7/137.
When David Willey nipped out opposition captain David Warner in the first over there looked to be some hope for England, however Willey’s swing was soon counter-attacked and he finished with the unflattering figures of 1/30 off 3.3 overs. A brace to fellow quick Chris Jordan (2/26 off three overs) was not enough to halt Australia on their charge as England also perished by seven wickets. The visitors will be sweating on the fitness of skipper Eoin Morgan who missed the match in Melbourne with a groin complaint.
Westpac Stadium hosted a T20I just three weeks ago when the Black Caps routed Pakistan for just 105 before chasing down the total with little fuss. While the ground is not generally that low-scoring it was the sixth first innings score under 160 in the past seven T20Is here with the side batting second boasting a 75% success rate at the ground.
- New Zealand have won 12 of their past 16 T20Is at home.
- New Zealand have also won their last three T20Is at Westpac Stadium.
- England have now won only one of their past five T20Is.
- England have also lost five of their past six T20Is away from home.
Home ground advantage has not held much sway amongst the punters with very little to separate the odds between these two sides.
Both sides may have been overwhelmed by the Australians in the opening encounters of this series, however New Zealand can at least argue that their performance in a one-off match should carry less weight than the two matches involving an England side who already had plenty of time to prepare in the conditions. Conditions could play a key role here with the Black Caps well set up to succeed on home soil where they boast a record that recently elevated them to the top of the ICC rankings.
Conversely England have struggled to convert their new found confidence in ODI cricket to the 20-over arena, particularly on foreign shores. Although their entire squad has not been here for the full duration they look a tired outfit after a long tour of Australia and question marks over the fitness of their captain and premier middle-order batsman place further strain on a misfiring side.
The market may be finding it tough to separate the sides but I personally have no such issues and cannot understand why the hosts are not clear, if not overwhelming, favourites. Their performances at home, particularly at this ground, are too good to overlook, and with a side boasting power at the top, experience with the new ball and guile in the form of highly-credentialed spinners, I have no qualms in staking a significant outlay on New Zealand to get the points here.
BACK – New Zealand at 1.90 or better for 3 units.