New Zealand v England, 2nd T20, Hamilton February 11, 2013

Hamilton promises another runfest


Match facts

Tuesday, February 12, Seddon Park
Start time 1900 (0600 GMT)

Big Picture

Luke Wright's assessment of the deluge of sixes that rained upon the Eden Park crowd during the opening Twenty20 international was enthusiastic enough, but with a hint of reservations. England had cleared the boundary 15 times, only two short of equalling the world record, and Wright contributing four of them in a domineering 42 from 20 balls. New Zealand managed eight - and their innings never really took off.

"To see fours and sixes, I suppose that's what people come to watch," Wright said. Rarely in cricket has the world "suppose" been worthy of such a debate. Spectators assuredly do not want stodgy pitches and massive outfields, big hitting is demanded above all, but it has to be a challenge, otherwise you might as well just double up the boundary with the 30-yard fielding circle. Wright, helped by a great batting surface, virtually blocked one of his sixes over the rope.

Eden Park, if you take proper note of its tiny straight boundaries, is a rugby ground doing its best to fake its suitability for cricket. Seddon Park in Hamilton, where the three-match series now moves, at least feels like a cricket ground, but the boundary hits are not much bigger. With campaigners also fighting to prevent a flyover affecting the atmosphere at Basin Reserve, nobody could suggest that New Zealand's compilation of cricket grounds are in perfect shape.

Last year, the South African opener, Richard Levi, struck 13 sixes in a 51-ball 117 not out. Aerial combat is likely to be resumed tonight. In Auckland, the crowd lapped it up. This is very much the way in New Zealand cricket, but there is a balance and, without being po-faced over the sight of people having a fun night out at T20, it is about time the ICC debated it.

Form guide

New Zealand: LLWLT (most recent first)
England: WWLLW

Players to watch

England's pace bowler Jade Dernbach was accidentally spiked on the arm in training, continuing a winter which has not lavished many favours upon him. For the moment at least, England's faith in his variety still holds.

Hamish Rutherford's T20 debut was overshadowed by the return of Ross Taylor, but his arrival is an exciting one. T20 would have been perfect for his father, Ken, whose rapid triple-hundred at the Scarborough Festival included 199 between lunch and tea while the media, largely unaware, was enjoying a lavish sponsor's lunch.

Team news

Allrounder Grant Elliott and seamer Ian Butler are back in the New Zealand 13 after minor injuries ruled them out at Eden Park. Jimmy Neesham has been omitted from the New Zealand squad.

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

England have a doubt over Eoin Morgan (strained back) and if he is unfit Joe Root is expected to deputise. Root has had an introduction to international cricket, in all three formats, more successful than he could ever have imagined, but Morgan is England's gun batsman in T20 cricket and he would be sorely missed.

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

Pitch and conditions

Both sides will enter this game anticipating that another excellent batting surface will ensure that a score of 200-plus is necessary. Batsmen have dominated at Seddon Park, although Bangladesh's 78 all out three years ago is a salutary reminder that T20 innings can go awry even in the most encouraging conditions.

Stats and trivia

  • Luke Wright is England's second most experienced T20 player, having played 40 times, a figure exceeded only by his captain Stuart Broad, although perhaps surprisingly he has figured more in 50-over cricket, winning selection 46 times.
  • Wright 's itinerant lifestyle demanded 38 flights last year - quite a challenge for somebody who calls himself "a nervous flyer." To cope, he says, he watches the same movies over and over again.
  • Richard Levi's hundred in Hamilton a year ago, for South Africa against New Zealand, was the fastest in T20I, his 45 balls surpassing Chris Gayle's 50-ball blitz for West Indies against South Africa in Johannesburg.


"One minute you are talking tactics about how to get a player out, the next minute he is in your side somewhere else. It's strange. You have to be careful not to give away your weaknesses because your team-mate one day might be an opponent a week later."
Luke Wright, England's allrounder, on the strange world of a T20 specialist.

"We're working well together and the longer we do that the better that relationship will be. But it's going to take a while before we're going out for coffee every week."
Mike Hesson, New Zealand's coach, recognises that his rift with Ross Taylor, the Test captain he sacked, will not heal overnight.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • byebyebaseball on February 12, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    I agree with Hopps. Too small grounds mean that -- at best -- something resembling cricket is played. But isn't this the nature of 20/20?? As a NZ fan, I want to see them play world class cricket, not just cricket they can win at home with luck.

  • redneck on February 12, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    mr hopps what do you mean the icc should debate it? eden park has hosted tests for years. so to have christchurch which is also a rugby ground. as ive previously said cricket is unique in that you get different conditions the world over. one of the things you need to take into account when touring NZ is that half its grounds are for rugby. just like when you go to india you will get dust bowls and when you visit england in the early season you will get green tops!!! if the icc want cricket only grounds then it better be fronting the cash!!! as i doubt NZ cricket would have it. and finally anyone trying to bag the adelaide oval, its hosted more tests and has more history and tradition with its short side boundries than most test venues could ever dream of!!! seriously to the first commentor on face book who are you to call into question a ground that has played host to cricket matches since the 1860's? go watch soccer if you want generic playing fields!!!

  • Beige_and_blue on February 12, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    As a proud New Zealander, I feel it is embarrassing that our largest city does not have a dedicated venue for our premiere summer sport. Asking international teams of professional sportsmen to 'make do' playing on a rugby field is unacceptable.

  • sugwas on February 12, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    Might as well go the whole hogg and make everybody play on exactly the same drop in pitches - 100% uniform cricket across the globe because that would be good fun.... Put roofs on the stadia as well so the weather can be controlled....

  • zenboomerang on February 12, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    For me the bats need to be brought back to a fairer level (much like baseball did with its aluminium bats) when edges rarely went for 6 & batters had to use more skill to get boundaries...

    Some odd comments about Adelaide Oval - square its 69 yards, even with ropes it is 65 yards - while the long boundaries are now too long & have been shortened which with the old bats made it nearly impossible to get a 6... Eden Park is 56 yards to the boundary (not sure about ropes), either way there is a significant difference in boundary sizes...

  • SameOld on February 12, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    This has to be among the worst "Match Previews" cricinfo has ever produced.

    A four paragraph whinge that barely mentions the game ahead, followed by a "Player to Watch" that is actually about said player's father, followed by more about Luke Wright, the only player mentioned in the "Big Picture" portion above (unless you count Richard Levi, who is mentioned in both, and can't even hold his place in the SA team, which isn't one of the teams playing today). Then wrapped it up with more even Luke Wright and an already widely circulated quote from Hesson.

    Lift your game, cricinfo.

  • class9ryan on February 12, 2013, 0:11 GMT

    New Zealand always has been a high scoring place. Hamiton should be any other . Saying that u need quality pacemen to stop runs here which we are lacking here except to Finn and that adds to a lot of boundary scoring

  • dummy4fb on February 11, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    They should be only allowed 5 wickets in T20 not 10. People don't like it because of the boundaries they like it because it's over in 3 hours. 5 wickets would make the game more appealing and less of a slogfest but still short as to cater to a wider audience than the longer forms.

  • landl47 on February 11, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    The whole purpose of T20 cricket is to entertain people who would not usually come to cricket matches. That means 4s and 6s and if that requires short boundaries, so be it. As long as this format isn't confused with real cricket, give the punters what they came to see.

  • bobbo2 on February 11, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    Is Mills not NZ's best limited overs bowler? Where is he, particularly in the absence of Southee? And Mills is no mug with the bat for an over or two.

    Now if NZ win the toss I hope they bat first this time. The choice to field first on a concrete road in the first game against a very strong batting line up with tiny boundaries was a big mistake and as soon as we chose to field I knew we would lose the game.

    170 with a couple of early wickets could have been defended (if catches are taken).