England v New Zealand, Champions Trophy, Group A, Cardiff June 15, 2013

Hosts under pressure; poor weather looms


Match Facts

Sunday, June 16, Cardiff
Start time 1030 (0930 GMT)

The Big Picture

Déjà vu, anyone? These two teams have certainly seen plenty of each other over the last few months. This match, though, is arguably the most important of the lot with a place in the semi-finals at stake. In theory it's win or bust for England, while a defeat for New Zealand would leave them needing Australia to beat Sri Lanka but not by enough to overtake their NRR.

However, it looks unlikely to even be that simple. The weather forecast for Sunday in Cardiff is not great. The groundsman has talked of a potential washout. That scenario has receded a little but would hurt England and put New Zealand through on four points. Then it would be England needing Australia to win (but, again, not by enough to lift their NRR much) in order to progress. Everyone still with us? If both remaining group matches are washed out, England and New Zealand would go through.

Given the way the weather can change, let's presume the match goes ahead. It has been a difficult few days for England, who bowled poorly against Sri Lanka when they failed to defend 293 and then rumours emerged about the condition of the ball after the umpires changed it. How quickly fortunes can change. Everything was rosy for them after victory against Australia.

One debate is whether England's batting has the power to really damage teams. Yet, with a bowling attack of their supposed strength a total of over 290 should have been defendable. Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott are doing their roles, but the problem has been that Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler have not fired, leaving just Ravi Bopara to give innings a late lift.

There is not much England and New Zealand won't know about each other. If pre-game advantages are being sought then it was Brendon McCullum's team who won the bilateral series 2-1 earlier this month. They edged home against Sri Lanka in the group stage and could have had a tough task to chase 244 against Australia so there are a few questions marks over their batting.

With the ball, however, they have been excellent. Daniel Vettori's return has boosted their options and Mitchell McClenaghan has provided wicket-taking threat much like Geoff Allott did at the 1999 World Cup in England. Everyone, though, will be watching the weather. New Zealand may not say it, but they won't mind if it rains all day.

Form guide

(Most recent first, last five completed matches)

England LWWLL
New Zealand WLWWL

Watch out for...

Alastair Cook is facing an important day or so. Much stock had been put in England's chances of going deep in this tournament and those hopes are on a knife edge. And then there are the accusations being thrown around involving his team. Cook also admitted his innings against Sri Lanka, a stodgy 59 off 85 deliveries, did not help the momentum. Throughout his career he has responded to pressure with outstanding performances, so don't be surprised to see another.

Martin Guptill has good recent memories against England having taken back-to-back hundreds during the one-day series, including a record-breaking 189 not out at the Ageas Bowl. In the Champions Trophy he has twice succumbed to loose drives against the seamers, but it will be interesting to see if England target him early with some spin although with Graeme Swann rarely used in the Powerplay that appears unlikely.

Team news

Jonathan Trott has recovered from the thigh strain that kept him off the field for most of Sri Lanka's run chase at The Oval. With Bopara's lower-order hitting power there are unlikely to be changes to the attack although James Tredwell is unlucky to be on the sidelines.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Ravi Bopara, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Anderson

Tim Southee is an injury doubt but Grant Elliott is likely to be available for selection. If Southee doesn't make it, Elliott could strengthen the batting or they could bring in Doug Bracewell or Ian Butler. Luke Ronchi has struggled since his return to international cricket and could need a strong finish to the tournament to retain his place.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Luke Ronchi, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 James Franklin, 6 Brendon McCullum (capt), 7 Daniel Vettori, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Doug Bracewell, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan

Pitch and conditions

The surfaces in Cardiff have ranged from high-scorers (India v South Africa and South Africa v West Indies) to a grungy low-scorer (New Zealand v Sri Lanka). The slightly odd dimensions to the ground, with long corners, can make it hard to defend. However, if the forecast is to be trusted the pitch may not be uncovered. The BBC forecast suggests rain from 12pm with it getting heavier towards evening.

Stats and trivia

  • Brendon McCullum needs 56 runs to reach 5000 in ODIs

  • Mitchell McClenaghan requires two more wickets to equal Kyle Mills' 10 as the most for New Zealand in a Champions Trophy

  • New Zealand have won all three of their ODIs in Cardiff, against Australia in 1999, West Indies in 2004 and Sri Lanka last week

  • England are also unbeaten in five ODIs at the ground, although three of those have been no-results


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New Zealand coach Mike Hesson sidesteps ball-tampering questions

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • pull_shot on June 16, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    cook respond brilliantly in odi's....... u must be surely joking

  • yorkshirematt on June 16, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Well that's that then. In these conditions the England top order will be even more ponderous than usual or find themselves 70 for 5. Best hope is with rain and Aussies ro narrowly beat sl

  • GrandMasterSaxay on June 16, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    I want to add "Corey James Anderson" in my fantasy team but his name doesn't seem to appear in the New Zealand team

  • Cloakey on June 16, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    The Ronchulator will fire!

  • Qalandari on June 16, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    The rain really ruined the Tournament. As of my opinion, If Today's match tie. NZL will have 4 Points and ENG will have 3 Points. So tomorrow, if SRL wins, NZL and SRL will qualify but if AUS wins, there will be a NRR fight between ENG and AUS. For your information ENG is in a strong position by NRR.

  • JG2704 on June 16, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    @skilebow - I think we'd all prefer to have conditions where we get more games completed. Agree it's good to have the challenges of English conditions but we just seem to be getting so many games rained off. In the CC and domestic competitions that can have a huge influence on things. None of the domestic games (bar semis/finals) get replayed/have reserve days etc so you can have scenarios where a side finishes ahead of another side but were not necessarily better - just had better weather to complete matches. I mean as an example in the YB40 Somerset's game with Unicorns (a fringe side) was abandoned (a point each). Now imagine if in football (where games rarely get called off anyway) you had a situation where (eg) Man Utd had 2 home games called off vs Sothampton and Norwich and got just a point each I think it's something which puts off the travelling fan from attending games.We can do nothing abt the weather but I feel we can do things to maximise playing time/results

  • JG2704 on June 16, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    @yorkshirematt on (June 15, 2013, 15:36 GMT) I half agree with your post but Morgan has the class of Raina definitely, Also , while SL beat England handsomely in the end they lost to NZ who in turn were struggling vs Aus , who in turn Eng beat comfortably. To be honest I have mixed feelings about Eng going through/going out.

  • dummy4fb on June 16, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    We in Moscow,Russia Use aeroplanes and helicofters to do away with clouds during any important celebrations .It is not late can order services from Moscow for Semifinals and Finals.

  • JG2704 on June 16, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    @Un_Citoyen_Indien on (June 16, 2013, 3:10 GMT)

    re" Can't remember a single series that hasn't been rain affected"

    Thought you might have remembered the 2nd test series of the English summer in 2011 , but maybe that slipped from your mind

  • deathstar01 on June 16, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Supporting NZ today with huge passion; would love to see england lose and eventually, getting out of the tournament.

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