England v NZ, World T20 2012, Super Eights, Pallekele September 28, 2012

Champions hope to avoid knockout blow


Match facts

September 29, 2012
Start time 3.30pm local (1000 GMT/1100 BST)

Big Picture

Group 1 of the Super Eights may be a collection of runners-up but second-best is an accurate summary of England and New Zealand's performances so far. After this match, one team is going to be propping up the group and, depending on the result of Sri Lanka versus West Indies, potentially checking the departures timetable from Bandaranaike International.

Of the two, New Zealand should enter the match in better fettle, having scrapped like cornered kiwis in their exhilarating Super Over defeat against the tournament hosts. They also pushed Pakistan - fast turning into one of the favourites - all the way in the group stage and in Brendon McCullum they have the World T20's leading run-scorer. By contrast, England made their lowest T20I score against India in Colombo and then followed that up by ushering Johnson Charles to his best showing in all senior cricket, and West Indies to a first win.

Unsurprisingly, England's green (not to mention KP-free) batting order has been the problem. Stuart Broad was explicit in blaming the batsmen after the failure to chase 180 against West Indies and first-over performances of 0 for 1, 2 for 1 and 0 for 2 in their three games have given England more of a stop than a start. If they can get through the first six balls, one crumb of comfort may be the fact that New Zealand's slow bowlers are of the orthodox finger-spin variety.

For New Zealand, the challenge is to convert the disappointment of two close defeats into match-winning momentum. The Black Caps are often dark horses but they have still tended to fall before the final fence. Their only T20I win against England came during the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007, when they progressed to the semi-finals; the teams also met in the 2010 Super Eights, when England went on to lift the trophy. Of those two precedents, a repeat of the former looks more likely than the latter.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)

England LLWWL
New Zealand LLWWL

Watch out for

The sceptics have increasingly begun to circle Craig Kieswetter's name at the top of the order with red ink. Having not made a duck his first 21 T20I innings, Kieswetter has picked up two in three matches at this tournament. His anxiety to play the six-hitting blunderbuss, with Alex Hales a more subtle opening partner, appears to have clouded Kieswetter's mind - he has made four of his six single-figure scores this year - while there is also concern about the number of dot balls he faces. Needs a big innings.

Daniel Vettori has had a quiet World T20 so far, with one wicket at a cost of 83 runs and a 16-ball 18 when promoted to No. 4 as a pinch hitter against Pakistan. His experience and economy (Vettori's rate of 5.63 is among the most miserly in T20 internationals) mean he remains a valuable member of the side and one who can remember what it is like to beat England, having played in Durban five years ago. England's much-discussed uncertainty about how to tackle spin bowling adds further spice.

Team news

England set a lot of store by continuity and, even if they didn't, their options are limited. Ravi Bopara's batting form is unlikely to have improved while carrying the drinks and replacing Kieswetter with Michael Lumb at opener would be a gamble that would also require either Jonny Bairstow or Jos Buttler to take over the wicketkeeping duties.

England (possible) 1 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Stuart Broad (capt), 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach.

New Zealand might be tempted to give Ronnie Hira a run-out, in light of the knockout matches being played in spin-friendly Colombo. His left-arm spin may not be exotic, and would replicate Vettori's angle of attack, but after the gentle welcome England gave West Indies' Samuel Badree it could be a tempting option.

New Zealand (possible) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Rob Nicol, 3 Brendon McCullum (wk), 4 Ross Taylor (capt), 5 James Franklin, 6 Kane Williamson, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Daniel Vettori, 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Kyle Mills.

Pitch and conditions

Broad described the Pallekele pitch as a "batter's paradise" after the first round of Super Eight games there, with minimal spin or seam movement and plenty of pace. Saturday is expected to be clear, which should help the runs flow again.

Stats and trivia

  • England have won four out of five T20 internationals against New Zealand, their only defeat coming at the 2007 World T20
  • Graeme Swann needs two wickets to become the fourth man - and first non-Pakistani - to reach 50 in T20Is


"We back the guys up there [at the top of the order], we know they're all dangerous players. But losing wickets in the first over, especially, is not acceptable."
England captain, Stuart Broad, is expecting the batsmen to make a better start against New Zealand

"Personally, I don't keep an eye on the strike rate or balls faced. If you can get your boundaries and your ones and twos, the strike rate is going to take care of itself."
New Zealand's Martin Guptill has some advice about opening that England might take heed of

US readers can watch the match live here, coverage starts 30 minutes before the game begins.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Samir on September 29, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    This WT20 england is missing KP very very much......

  • Dummy4 on September 29, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    Black Caps are going to rock England.

  • Robert on September 29, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    Broad's petulance on the pitch suggested he lacked the maturity to captain the team. His public criticisms of top order batsmen have confirmed that. Let us hope the players can put it out of their minds and do well in spite of their captain.

  • Shakeel on September 29, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Graeme Swann needs two wickets to become the fourth man - and first non-Pakistani - to reach 50 in T20Is .... Did you see that indians

  • Dummy4 on September 29, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    Left JM Bairstow and Take Lumb because last match will decide result and Keep Morgon order to up One Down

  • Campbell on September 29, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Ross Taylor should beat at no.3 with McCullum opening, in my opinion would be a stronger team since Ross Taylor and McCullum are such class and are New Zealand's best batsman

  • Dummy4 on September 29, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    I watched the match live at Pallekele (SL V NZ) ..It was the first time i witnessed a Super over..Nobody was ready for it..I admire the way the NZ players tried to beat us (SL)

    Full credit to Malinga + all SL crew. Nobody was supporting Mali at that moment even my daughters... I think NZ can beat England today if they minimize the errors...

    Anyway, we are going to beat WI today..Good luck Gayle..Ajantha is going to hit your middle!

  • Ed on September 29, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    @ SurlyCynic - so you're telling me Eion Morgan isn't great to watch ? You're so desperate to hate the ENG team, you're missing out on a true talent. The Aussies will spend so much time watching Cook bat against them in the next ashes, you have to get your digs in whist you can. Once this slap and tickle T20 is over, you Aussies will be back under the gun from ENG in the Ashes, like the last two times.

  • syed rashid on September 29, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    The way spinners are opening the bowling and causing concerns to the opposition guess spin can be introduced from both ends..kiwis have the ammo in the form of nathan and vettori and they can surely take few Englishmen by surprise (considering eng's inability to read the slower bowlers) then of course there's the mighty tim southee who probably bowled the over of the tournament so far against the lankans..followed by mills and oram...butler should be replaced by the experienced bopara and morgan promoted to # 3 if eng needs to add solidarity to their batting and make a match out of this one.

  • Nilantha on September 29, 2012, 8:13 GMT

    Going to be a very close match...for me bell should be in the team and also the captain...it's ok to blend youth into a team but you have to have some senior players for them to work around...would have also liked to see Alastair cook playing as the anchor role...yes strike rates are important but you also need someone to hold on if the wickets start falling...

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