New Zealand v England, 1st T20, Auckland

New Zealand not far from being favourites

Preview by Andrew McGlashan

February 8, 2013

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

February 9, 2013
Start time 7.00pm (0600GMT)

Brendon McCullum clips one through the leg side, South Africa v New Zealand, 1st Twenty20 international, Durban, December 21, 2012
Brendon McCullum is the only batsman with two Twenty20 international hundreds © Gallo Images

Big picture

It might only feel five minutes since the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka - and it is only five months - but the next tournament is little more than a year away so there is no time like the present to start the planning, especially with the fragmented nature of bilateral T20s at international level.

This three-match series gives both teams a decent chance to bed into the format. The structure of the tour is also to New Zealand's benefit with the shorter formats (50-over matches follow later this month) their best chance of turning England over - the odds favouring England could even be a little generous - and success in coloured clothes would allow them to enter the Test series in decent heart.

Both teams had a disappointing World T20 in Sri Lanka, exiting in the Super Eights, and have enjoyed mixed results since. England shared their series in India while New Zealand lost against South Africa, although they did gain one victory through a stunning innings by Martin Guptill.

Batting is probably the stronger department of both sides, especially with Ross Taylor's return for the hosts, and coupled with some short boundaries around New Zealand it should lead to a high-scoring series. England are still trying to work out their best combination of bowlers and Steven Finn's poor warm-up form has confused matters a little.

Form guide

(Most recent first, completed matches)

New Zealand LWLTL
England WLLWL

In the spotlight

Ross Taylor has admitted his relationship with coach Mike Hesson remains a "work in progress" but so long as his mind is switched to batting he will considerably strength the New Zealand side. However, his T20 numbers are perhaps a little lower than expected - an average of 24.37 and strike-rate of 120 - and it has been suggested that he has not always been best utilised in the order. New Zealand are not good enough not to make the most of him.

The England wicketkeeping merry-go-round continues and currently Jos Buttler is the man hanging on. Yet while questions remain about his glovework, as a batsman he is starting to show his rare ability. He has produced a couple of sparkling T20 displays in the last few months and prepared for this series with back-to-back rapid half centuries against the New Zealand XI.

Team news

Grant Elliott (quad) and Ian Butler (ankle) have been ruled out of the opening game meaning a call-up for allrounder Jimmy Neesham who now has a good chance of playing. Hamish Rutherford, the son of Ken, is in line for a debut to open the batting and Taylor's return is likely to come at No. 4 followed by a clutch of allrounders.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Hamish Rutherford, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Brendon McCullum (capt & wk), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Colin Munro, 6 James Franklin, 7 Andrew Ellis, 8 Jimmy Neesham, 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan

Joe Root did not appear in any of the warm-up matches so is unlikely to feature and the main issue is to solve being who plays at No. 7. Samit Patel bowled well in the second warm-up match and may be asked to share some overs with Luke Wright. Eoin Morgan's batting position will depend on the state of the innings and overs remaining.

England (probable) 1 Alex Hales, 2 Michael Lumb, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Samit Patel, 8 Stuart Broad (capt), 9 James Tredwell, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach

Pitch and conditions

It is a drop-in surface at Eden Park and is expected to be of decent pace, ideal for Twenty20 cricket. The unusual dimensions of the ground, which is also a rugby stadium, mean exceedingly short straight boundaries which will make life hard work for all the bowlers, but particularly the spinners. The forecast is for a warm, sunny day leading to a very pleasant evening.

Stats and trivia

  • New Zealand's top order will include three T20 hundreds (two for Brendon McCullum and one for Guptill) but England's batsmen have yet to score one. Alex Hales and Luke Wright have both reached 99.

  • England have only lost once in six T20s against New Zealand. Their most recent meeting was at the World T20 in Sri Lanka when England won by six wickets.


"I'd imagine it will be a feisty contest, like we always have with New Zealand, and both teams will be going hell for leather to win."
Stuart Broad

"He's come back in and he was smiling and happy and a definite part of the group. Ross is a fabulous cricketer and he's shown that so far in his career, his ability to step up time and time again on the international stage."
Brendon McCullum

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by FighterKallis on (February 9, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

de villers, pollard,watson dhoni and the likes would have hit a 50 sixes here in auckland .england score not enough to win.dernbach can make nz to win.

Posted by bobbo2 on (February 9, 2013, 7:11 GMT)

Why didn't we bat. And the catching has been shocking. Does NZ actually want to win this game?

Posted by   on (February 9, 2013, 6:55 GMT)

where is kevin peteresen?

Posted by   on (February 9, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

The outcome of this match depends on how Ross,Brendon & Martin bat. NZ are a very good fielding unit, infact I think they are the best at present.

Posted by greatshinwari on (February 9, 2013, 5:33 GMT)

england teams seems to be strong on the paper as Newzealand team includes too many new wishes are wid newzealand team...all the best McCullum and co....

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (February 9, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

Should be a good series & NZ will be much tougher than australia were, in Englands last limited overs series against them.

Posted by Min2000 on (February 9, 2013, 3:20 GMT)

This looks like the strongest T20 side that New Zealand has fielded in years -it would have been good to see Ronnie Hira and Tom Latham in the mix somewhere. Hira is the best T20 spinner in the country by some distance, and Latham's game has come on so much - his innings the other day in Whangarie was brilliant.

Posted by shashi00123 on (February 9, 2013, 2:33 GMT)

@rishabh@Krishna651 I think Neo Prime is the broadcaster for this series. Even last Newzealand home series was live on Neo Prime and till first game was played there was advt regarding the same.

Posted by igorolman on (February 9, 2013, 1:46 GMT)

@TestofTime: Who cares if Dernbach plays or not? It's only T20, it's not like it's cricket. At least he's been dropped from the ODI squad.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2013, 0:53 GMT)

Astonishing that England would even still consider Dernbach as a viable option. I'm all for giving people a run but surely he's had a go and proved that he's not international class!

Posted by Jaffa79 on (February 8, 2013, 23:35 GMT)

NZ are a danergous team in this format and Mccullum can win games on his own.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 8, 2013, 21:45 GMT)

NZ - in recent years - have had a decent set of players in all formats but esp in the shorter formats. One problem is that for various reasons , they rarely field a full strength side After coming off a 50 over win over SA and a NZ 11 beating our side a few days ago their confidence will be high. Would like to see Root in there as a floating batsman/part time bowling option. If we lose 3 early wickets he could come in up the order , if not I hope the top 5 will be Lumb,Hales,Wright, Morgan,Buttler. If our openers to particularly well it could be worth considering moving our 2 form batsmen (Morgan and Jos) above Wright

Posted by JG2704 on (February 8, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

@Jordanious77 - I can see your POV re bits and pieces players for this format. I certainly think you need a number of bowling options. Root for Jonny would help re bowling options.

Incidentally , I did a bit of research on the spin vs pace debate and noticed a part time bowler by the name of Ravi Bopara was very often our most economical shorter formats bowler. There was an article suggesting Bopara could return. Many people scoffed at the suggestion - but looking at his bowling stats (although he didn't bowl too many overs) vs Aus/WI/SA this year I'd say it wouldn't be a bad idea to play Bopara but see him as a bowling all rounder rather than a batting all rounder. So long as he's not seen as a top order batsman who will usually waste vital time at the crease scratching around when guys like Wright,Morgan and Buttler could be batting , I'd be all for him coming it at 7 or 8 - maybe at Jade's expense with all after Patel going down a place in the batting order?

Posted by Photoelectric on (February 8, 2013, 20:57 GMT)

I think both teams have an equal chance of winning its just who will be more consistent, for NZ it will be up to the top order to perform but I think if Eng can bowl well they will have a good chance; NZ do like to chase runs.

Posted by corzaNZ on (February 8, 2013, 20:03 GMT)

Already advantage to England, they have 11 players.. we only have 10 if this probable line up is what the teams will be.... Neesham will bat at 9 and probably wont even bowl... surely we have someone better than him who can contribute more than he can/ever will

Posted by Glenn10 on (February 8, 2013, 19:57 GMT)

I agree with the comment this T20 game is made for bits and pieces players. It only requires 4 good batsmen and the rest who can all bat and bowl. The comment fast guys go for a few is generally correct, although you need to carry one, just in case the pitch does a bit. I guess McClenaghan fills that role for NZ. I can also see a day when someone will play four or five spinners. Bowling rubbish also works. 5 years ago if someone bowled a slow bouncer it would be considered just that, but now its a surprise ball that can restrict run scoring. Funny how things change. Thats why T20 doesn't rate to high in my book. There is allot of rubbish bowling and batting that often ends up effective. But I'll watch, as Cricket is like pizza (I had another word, but I wanted to get published), even when its bad its good? Right? Anyway, this game will be close. Both sides look even to me. It may come down to who has the best 5 or 6 average allrounders?

Posted by yorkshirematt on (February 8, 2013, 19:49 GMT)

Eng need to be on their guard. This will be no walk in the park, compared to playing Australia

Posted by   on (February 8, 2013, 19:12 GMT)

Ha, for once I gotta go with the troll. In all honesty even as an England fan I think it'll be tight. Our bowling attack is beyond unconvincing, and if Finn's struggling to hit his lengths then we could be taken apart. Reasonably happy with the batters, provided Morgs finds some form. Pleased to see the back of Kieswetter, remain unconvinced by Dernbach, surely he's running low on chances

Posted by TestOfTime on (February 8, 2013, 18:56 GMT)

How is it that Jade Dernbach finds a spot in the playing XI despite being a consistent crap show and a guy like Graham Onions warms the bench?

Posted by RandyOZ on (February 8, 2013, 18:07 GMT)

You'd expect an easy win to NZ here. The United XI just don't have the depth.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2013, 15:15 GMT)

can anyone tell me which channel will broadcast this series in india?

Posted by Krishna651 on (February 8, 2013, 14:32 GMT)

Who is the broadcaster of this series in india ?

Posted by Jordanious77 on (February 8, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

People may disagree with having "bits and pieces" players in a team, let alone 4-5 of them! but..... I THINK ITS GENIUS FOR T20!

The main aim in T20 is to restrict run rate. When batsman feel pressured it's when they're forced to play shots. So restricting run rate is the best way to get wickets in T20.. In T20 it has been reasonably proven that fast bowlers get hit for more runs, i'd assume it's because edges/simple strokes bounce of the bat fast enough to go for a boundary. All-rounders (med pacers) however don't have to worry about that to an extent.

My theory is that all-rounders are just as good at restricting run rate as any bowler could be..

Having all-rounders also gives your batting order a lot more depth and gives an ability to save wickets to slog for longer, creating even more pressure...

Maybe some people disagree, but i think NZ have gone for the perfect tactic.

I would also consider NZ favorites. Gl. can't wait for the match to start!

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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