New Zealand aim to continue revival
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Start time 2:30pm, 12:30 GMT
It is New Zealand's turn to do or die. A victory will take them through to the semi-finals, but a defeat will almost certainly see them heading home (see below). England, though, can already think about the knockout stage after their slick performance against South Africa. This tournament continues to confound, and what excitement that has brought.
New Zealand produced an outstanding performance against Sri Lanka to keep their tournament hopes alive. It was typical of them to bounce back so impressively after a heavy defeat against South Africa. There was grit, determination and no little flair as they out-gunned a talented Sri Lankan team that haven't found their top gear in this tournament. They might still survive, but need England to do them a favour.
Daniel Vettori's team often lift themselves at global events and if they don't make the semi-finals it will be something of a surprise - they are almost always there. However, their hopes have taken a blow with Jesse Ryder ruled out of the tournament after the injury he picked up during his destructive 58-ball 74 against Sri Lanka and his departure leaves a hole in the top order. But Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill have shown good form and it is up to them to take the strain. The captain, too, is leading from the front and his bowling spell was crucial to defeating Sri Lanka.
England, for their part, won't want to take their foot off the gas. Having waited so long to find winning form in one-day cricket it would be careless to let it slip now. There are also areas to tighten up on despite two hefty victories. In both games the support bowling for James Anderson - especially from his fellow quicks - has been lacking with Stuart Broad particularly culpable of pitching too short. They also dropped two catches against South Africa - one by Paul Collingwood, the other by Owais Shah - and although neither cost them the match those types of mistakes will eventually be punished.
How New Zealand can qualify
A win will obviously take them through - they might even top the group if the margin is comprehensive enough. However, New Zealand have a small chance even if they lose a low-scoring game by a very narrow margin: if they score 250 or less, and England win off the last ball (or a few balls remaining, depending on the target), New Zealand's net run rate will edge ahead of Sri Lanka's.
Form guide(last five completed matches, most recent first)
England - WWWLL
New Zealand - WLLLW
The Wanderers has offered plenty of help for the quicks so England will stick with four pacemen. One change of bowling personnel could be Ryan Sidebottom for Graham Onions if Andrew Strauss wants more control, while the health of Matt Prior will be monitored after he was taken ill on the eve of the South Africa game. Steven Davies, the Worcestershire wicketkeeper, is on standby but hasn't yet been named as an official replacement. Eoin Morgan did a solid job behind the stumps and could keep the gloves if the management are confident Prior will be fit for the semi-final.
England: (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Joe Denly, 3 Owais Shah, 4 Paul Collingwood, 5 Eoin Morgan (wk), 6 Ravi Boapra 7 Luke Wright, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Graham Onions.
New Zealand have suffered another injury blow; Daryl Tuffey broke a bone in the back of his hand while fielding and will return to New Zealand for surgery. Ian Butler, recovering from an intestinal infection but available for selection, will take his place. With Ryder ruled out, New Zealand will need a new opener. Aaron Redmond has been called into the squad, but has been held up in Hong Kong and will only arrive on the morning of the game. When he came in during the World Twenty20 in England he had immediate success, but he was already in the country on that occasion. Other options are reserve keeper Gareth Hopkins or allrounder Brendon Diamanti to come into the middle order and Guptill to open the batting.
New Zealand: (probable) 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Aaron Redmond, 3 Martin Guptill, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Grant Elliott, 6 Neil Broom, 7 Daniel Vettori (capt), 8 James Franklin, 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Shane Bond, 11 Ian Butler.
Watch out for...
After weeks of prodding around Owais Shah came out of his shell in explosive style as he launched six sixes in his 89-ball 98. His promotion to No. 3 for this tournament looked like a last-chance for Shah, with Jonathan Trott waiting in the wings for the South Africa tour and the eventual return of Kevin Pietersen. Now his place is secure again the fascination will be whether he carries Sunday's mindset forward and plays with similar freedom again.
With Ryder on his way home, the onus turns to Brendon McCullum to provide the boundaries at the top. He has done it many times before, but played second-fiddle to Ryder against Sri Lanka. After New Zealand's defeat against South Africa, some former players suggested McCullum should drop back down the order, but now he should be given the license to attack. If he comes off, New Zealand will be well set.
Pitch and conditions
Both teams have enjoyed the Wanderers - each winning their previous match on the ground - and the extra bounce will keep the quicks interested. However, runs have also flowed when the bowling has been off line.
Stats and trivia
- The two sides have met in 69 ODIs, with New Zealand leading the head-to-head 34-29 along with two ties and four no results.
- In multi-team tournaments (of five or more sides) there have been seven meetings with New Zealand ahead 4-3.
"Everyone was picking Sri Lanka and South Africa to go through to the semi-finals and New Zealand and England left to battle it out. But it has a been complete reversal so it's great for both sides."
Daniel Vettori hopes to keep proving New Zealand doubters wrong.
"I suspect it will be too big an ask for him. He would have been flying for over 24 hours because he's been held up by bad weather."
New Zealand coach Andy Moles on Aaron Redmond's chances of playing
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo