England suffered defeat against hosts Australia second time in a row, this time by 7 wickets and are in the 2nd position with zero points; they will take on New Zealand, who also lost their opening match against Australia by 7 wickets and are in the 3rd place, at Wellington on 13th February. England could muster only 137 runs batting first in the last match which the bowlers failed to defend; the Kiwis also suffered a batting collapse as they posted only 117 runs against the hosts leading to a huge loss. Now, the two visiting teams have an opportunity here to better their standing on the table; it needs to be seen which of them can overcome their weaknesses and emerge victorious on Tuesday.
The top-order consists of batsmen like Williamson, Tom Bruce, Colin Munro and Martin Guptill; however, they failed to make an impression in the first match against Australia and were all dismissed for single digits. Grandhomme coming in at No.6 top-scored with 38 off 24 while Ross Taylor pitched in with 24; but with hardly any support from others in the lower order, they could manage only 117 runs.
The pace attack tried to stifle the hosts as Trent Boult took 2-14 and Southee claimed 1 wicket; but they couldn’t contain the hosts from scoring the reduced target of 95 runs off 15 overs after rains played spoilsport. They have a good mix of spin and pace, with players like Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi ready to showcase their slow variations and pacers Southee and Boult bringing years of experience with the fast-ball. Others like Grandhomme, Ben Wheeler and Anaru Kitchen could bring variety to the attack.
The Kiwis have experienced players as well new young talent like Mark Chapman and Tim Seifert in the squad, who could help their team dominate the English and try to win this contest.
Batting first against Australia, captain Jos Buttler tried to stabilize the innings with 46 off 49 after the openers failed to build the foundation. James Vince and Sam Billings pitched in with 20+ runs each but they could muster only 137 runs against an in-form pace attack. Speedsters Jordan and David Willey claimed 3 wickets between them but others like Tom Curran and spinner Liam Dawson proved to be too expensive. They lost the match by 7 wickets and will try to strategize better in the upcoming match.
In the first match against the hosts, Dawid Malan posted a well-made half-century from just 36 deliveries while others like Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan contributed with 22 runs each. However, the middle-order couldn’t build steady partnerships and they posted only 155 runs in the end. David Willey claimed 3-28 with his fast-bowling skills while pacer Mark Wood and spinner Adil Rashid took a wicket apiece but they couldn’t stop the hosts from winning the match by 5 wickets.
Buttler could continue to lead the team in Morgan’s absence due to injury, and he has the services of batsmen like Vince, Billings, Roy, Hales and Malan; if they can do well against the famed Kiwi pace, the English could look to progress their campaign.
Though it is not a must-win game for both teams, they will try to garner some points here and keep their hopes alive; the English batting strength is deep, but we feel that Kiwis have better resources to win here.