NZ plan to upset in-form England
October 4, 2012
Start time 2.30pm local (0900 GMT/1000 BST)
The knockout stage of the Women's World Twenty20 begins with a rematch of the 2009 final. Potentially, 14 of the 22 players that took the field at Lord's could face-off again in Colombo, with New Zealand attempting to reach a third consecutive final - they were defeated by Australia in 2010 - and England looking to take a step further to regaining the trophy they won three years ago.
The two sides are already familiar, with England having toured New Zealand earlier in the year. A 4-0 win extended England's unbeaten run in T20 internationals, which was only ended last month by West Indies after a sequence that included 19 consecutive victories (and a couple of abandonments). They have picked up the thread of their dominating form in Sri Lanka, winning all three of their Group A games convincingly to qualify top.
With a top three of Charlotte Edwards - the leading run-scorer in the format - Laura Marsh and Sarah Taylor, England have plenty of batting, while their array of spinners have so far excelled on the slow pitches in Galle. Although occasionally erratic, they are also capable of moments of brilliance in the field. After the disappointment of 2010, when England exited at the group stage, they appear to have left nothing to chance.
For New Zealand, 2012 has not been a good year but two of their three wins have come in their last two matches. Sophie Devine, who opened the bowling and batted at No. 9 in the 2009 final, missed out on a place with New Zealand's hockey team at the London Olympics but has returned to cricket as an attacking No. 3, while Erin Bermingham is the tournament's joint-leading wicket-taker, with six.
They also recorded the highest score of the group stage, making 151 for 5 against South Africa - but the seven-wicket defeat to West Indies, who England thrashed 4-1 last month, may provide a more reliable indicator of their chances. Whoever prevails, the prospect of playing in front of a capacity crowd as the stadium fills up for Sri Lanka's semi-final against Pakistan in the men's tournament will add an extra gloss to the occasion.
Form guide(completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand WWLLL
Watch out for
Sarah Taylor was recently anointed as the leading batsman in women's T20 by the ICC's new ranking system, which would be quite something on its own, were she not also widely regarded as one of the best wicketkeepers in the world. Taylor has already made the highest score of the tournament, an unbeaten 65 as England cruised to victory over the holders, Australia, and her form in front of and behind the stumps will be key to England's chances.
Not only is Sophie Devine a dual international, she also has a sociology degree and is studying for a diploma in landscape gardening. The 23-year-old plans to try and win a hockey berth at Rio 2016 but, for now, she has the opportunity to appear in a third World T20 final. After 18 months out of the game, she made her first T20 international fifty in the win over South Africa, to go with three wickets in the group stage, and is surely reaching her peak as an allrounder.
England named the same side for all three of their group games so, barring injury, expect a familiar look to the team. Spin has accounted for 11 of the 17 wickets taken by England bowlers at the tournament, so the switch from Galle to Colombo shouldn't hurt them.
England (possible) 1 Charlotte Edwards (capt), 2 Laura Marsh, 3 Sarah Taylor (wk), 4 Arran Brindle, 5 Lydia Greenway, 6 Danielle Wyatt, 7 Jenny Gunn, 8 Anya Shrubsole, 9 Danielle Hazell, 10 Katherine Brunt, 11 Holly Colvin
New Zealand have also had a fairly settled line-up, using only 12 players so far. With Shane Bond as their bowling coach, they have relied on a battery of medium pace supplemented by Bermingham's legbreaks but they could bring in Lucy Doolan as another spin option.
New Zealand (possible) 1 Suzie Bates (capt), 2 Amy Satterthwaite, 3 Sophie Devine, 4 Frances Mackay, 5 Sara McGlashan, 6 Nicola Browne, 7 Katie Perkins, 8 Katey Martin (wk), 9 Erin Bermingham, 10 Morna Nielsen, 11 Sian Ruck
Pitch and conditions
The Premadasa has gradually got slower and lower as the tournament has gone on, so spin is likely to play a big part. The rain has held off in recent days but there's every chance of a shower in Colombo at some point during the afternoon.
Stats and trivia
- England beat New Zealand 4-0 in their five-match T20I series earlier this year.
- Prior to that tour, the teams each had a won four, lost four head-to-head record.
- Suzie Bates needs 51 runs to become the fourth women to score 1,000 in T20Is.
- Sarah Taylor is the leading women's T20I run-scorer in 2012, with 576 at 44.30, almost 200 runs ahead of the next best, Charlotte Edwards.
"Tomorrow will be a massive event for us and playing ahead of Sri Lanka versus Pakistan, I think they've had some massive crowds so far so I think that will be a big boost."
Laura Marsh on participating in a double bill with the men's semi-final
"They've played really well and haven't really been tested in the tournament. I think if we can get a couple of early wickets, some of their batters haven't batted at this tournament, so we can hopefully put them under some pressure."
Suzie Bates, New Zealand's captain, is up for ending England's run
Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo