Series decider is tough to call
February 15, 2012
Start time 7pm (0600GMT)
The Big Picture
Victories of a convincing nature for either side mean it is difficult to really assess how England and New Zealand compare in this format. However, the home side have a spring in their step after bouncing back from the hammering in Auckland.
The fact the two matches have been shared is not much of a surprise, but the margins of victory have been large by Twenty20 standards. Both teams have struggled to chase considerable targets but, if the Wellington groundsman's advice is to be heeded, then batting second should be the approach in this final match, where history suggests the dew is a hindrance to the bowlers.
In Hamilton, New Zealand's seamers made excellent use of the extra zip on offer under the lights to dismantle England's top order which, three days previously, had gone on a boundary rampage. At 47 for 5 the game was done and dusted. However, what Brendon McCullum and, even in defeat, Jos Buttler showed is how much damage can be done in the last few overs of an innings.
Form guide(Most recent first, completed matches)
New Zealand WLLWL
In the spotlight
Alex Hales arrived for the series with a growing reputation in Twenty20 after a consistent 2012 for England plus his fly-in fly-out success at the Big Bash League. He has not quite been able to continue that form in New Zealand, missing out twice in the warm-ups and in Hamilton. As with the rest of England's T20 top three, he is not part of the one-day squad so this is likely to be his last chance to impress on the international stage until the return T20 series against New Zealand in England later in the year.
Mitchell McClenaghan is fitting nicely into the mould of 'feisty fast bowler'. There was a little confrontation with Jade Dernbach at the end of the opening game, then a lively over in Hamilton knocked the top off the England run chase. He is eager for a similarly spicy battle in this deciding match. "I absolutely loved it," he said. "I love getting in those kinds of tussles and showing some fight when things are lost and a bit of Kiwi spirit that we're not going to get knocked down and stay down."
New Zealand may consider recalling Ronnie Hira, the left-arm spinner, and if that is the case Trent Boult, who has been expensive in both matches, would be the likely bowler to make way.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Hamish Rutherford, 3 Brendon McCullum (capt & wk), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Colin Munro, 6 Grant Elliott, 7 James Franklin, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Ian Butler, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan
England appear reasonably settled on the balance of their Twenty20 side so it is likely that Chris Woakes will remain on the sidelines alongside James Harris, Stuart Meaker and Joe Root.
England 1 Michael Lumb, 2 Alex Hales, 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
There is the chance of a few showers on match day but nothing that should prove too disruptive. The groundsman says dew will be an issue so both captains will need to factor that in at the toss. The Westpac Stadium is known as the "Cake Tin" and the boundaries are again not the largest - although they are more equal all around the pitch.
Stats and trivia
- All four T20s at the Westpac Stadium have been won by the side chasing, with the highest innings total being New Zealand's 162 for 8 against Sri Lanka in the first game on the ground in 2006.
- In last year's T20 against South Africa on this ground, Martin Guptill hit 78 off 55 balls to lead New Zealand's successful chase.
"I'm only a couple of boundaries away and then the confidence goes up. You try not to think about it too much and get into it. I didn't drop a catch in the last game so that was a positive."
Ross Taylor is confident is form will soon return
"If they want to be more aggressive, that's not something that fazes us ... we concentrate on what we want to do."
Steven Finn is not bothered by how New Zealand approach their cricket
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo