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On the Ball, Eng v NZ, St Lucia
Watch out for Bond
March 16, 2007
It was a grudge match and New Zealand, the deserving team, took the honours.
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Series/Tournaments: ICC World Cup
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'It was a fantastic knock by Scott Styris who made an undefeated 87' © Getty Images

The match between England and New Zealand was a bit of a grudge match, remember it was England who managed to pip New Zealand for a place in the final of the Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia.

New Zealand won the toss, and as is often the case in the Caribbean, they put England into bat. I think the captains are feeling their way a little bit in terms of the way these pitches play. So the England innings started badly, Ed Joyce was out for a duck and Ian Bell followed quite quickly for five. There is no doubt that the New Zealanders have got their act together on the bowling front. James Franklin and Jacob Oram got those wickets. But then things settled down. It's very important that Michael Vaughan plays well. He managed to get himself to 26, though very slow, at the strike rate of 50 and that is not what you want from your opener. More often than not these days they score a lot faster. Kevin Pietersen was the man who batted with him, and he made 60. Again for Pietersen it was pretty slow, with a strike rate of 65.12 which was not that good.

Of course, the old warhorses have being doing so much good for the England team. Paul Collingwood came to the party with 31. The fireworks came towards the end of the innings, when Paul Nixon who is making a real name for himself as a wicketkeeper batsman, made a quick-fire 42 and Liam Plunkett helped him with 29. So 209 doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to win the game; it's just not enough especially on small grounds.

Shane Bond, I have said before, could be one of the big names in this World Cup. He bowled 10 overs, one maiden and took 2 for 19. And the two important wickets he took were Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff. He is clearly one of the guys to watch in this World Cup. Daniel Vettori was a little bit disappointing, with no wicket for 53; he doesn't often go for 5.3 an over. But then he did not have to worry too much because the other guys did their stuff at the top end of the New Zealand bowling.

New Zealand then started their innings in a disastrous fashion. Lou Vincent, Stephen Fleming and Ross Taylor, were out in quick succession. And at that stage it really looked that the 200 that England made was going to be enough. However, it was a fantastic knock by Scott Styris who made an undefeated 87 and also good support from Craig McMillan, who really has made a fantastic comeback to this New Zealand side. And once again it was Oram, that big-hitting Oram, he made 63 runs and New Zealand managed to knock out those 210 runs with just four wickets down.

England will be a little disappointed with their bowling. Like New Zealand, they started pretty well. The hard ball seems to move around a bit in these conditions. James Anderson took 2 for 39, Plunkett 1 for 43, Andrew Flintoff, he bowled really well, very mean, with no wicket for 17. But really the rest of them, I am afraid, were not able to penetrate enough. They needed to get wickets of they were going to win this match.

So it was a good victory for the New Zealanders and it makes them the second team to take the two points through to the Super 8's, assuming that all the top sides go through. So that's a very very good start once they eventually get through to that Super 8's section.

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