New Zealand v England, 2nd ODI, Napier February 18, 2013

Another scalp beckons for New Zealand


Match facts

February 20, 2013
Start time 2pm (0100 GMT)

Big Picture

It is hard to decide whether New Zealand are the most overestimated or underestimated team in world cricket. Without fail they are considered small fry for the more glamorous teams, yet a cautionary footnote is always offered. Such warnings cite their ability to pounce over any opposition looking a little off-colour. South Africa's weaker health was too timid in January and England also turned up a little pasty in the face as they lost the opening ODI in Hamilton.

Given that loss, England are again on the verge of a series defeat in New Zealand despite bringing probably their best ODI side since 1992 - the last time they won a series there. Consecutive series defeats will not be in the mind of Ashley Giles, who inherited the No. 1 ODI side in the world before Christmas.

The preparation of both camps would have made a difference in Hamilton. Almost half the England XI came into the match without a warm-up knock, following a few weeks recuperation after the India tour. They met a New Zealand side walking a little taller after their remarkable series win in South Africa. A match in, and Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, James Anderson and Graeme Swann should be fully adjusted to life in the land of the long white cloud. Arguably New Zealand's best simply isn't as good as England's best, and Cook's men will be focused on not selling themselves short again.

New Zealand, for their part, have another grand opening to claim a notable scalp and consecutive ODI series wins will be some turnaround from the shambles of the Test series in South Africa.

Form guide

New Zealand WLWWL (Completed matches, most recent first)
England LWLLL

In the spotlight

Ross Taylor is one of the most talented batsman New Zealand have produced and he is yet to make a serious mark on his return to the side. A big performance could provoke a Nasser Hussain-style reaction that would not only send the clearest of messages to the New Zealand board but also ensure that Taylor becomes entrenched in the team's revival, having missed the landmark victory in South Africa.

He may be penned in for the Champions Trophy at No. 3 but Jonathan Trott will always have his doubters. Innings like his 68 in 90 balls in the first ODI don't do much for Trott's image and, despite his value as a base to play around, he needs to keep the runs ticking to quell the calls for flashier, younger players to replace him.

Team news

New Zealand's victory in Hamilton came with its casualties. Mitchell McClenaghan has been ruled out of the series and Martin Guptill will miss at least the second ODI. McClenaghan's replacement, Tim Southee, is coming off a fine all-round first-class performance and will be hungry to reclaim lost ground after being sidelined by injury for two months. Hamish Rutherford, who made his international debut in the first T20 against England, replaces Guptill.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Hamish Rutherford, 2 BJ Watling, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt & wk), 6 Grant Elliott, 7 James Franklin, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Tim Southee

England will probably stick with the same XI. James Harris could play to give Steven Finn a rest but with the series on the line, fielding a debutant is unlikely.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Chris Woakes, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn

Pitch and conditions

The weather should be warm and sunny and McLean Park generally offers one of the best pitches to bat on in New Zealand. England will be looking for a similar score to their previous visit.

Stats and trivia

  • Mitchell McClenaghan has taken 10 wickets at 19.70 in the first four ODIs of his career, including 4 for 20 on debut in Paarl, suggesting he will be missed.
  • Remarkably, two of England's four matches at McLean Park have been ties. In 1997, England failed to overhaul 237and their last visit, in 2008, also finished with tied scores in a thriller that had 680 runs scored.
  • The last time New Zealand won back-to-back ODI series when Zimbabwe or Bangladesh were not involved was in 2008, when they beat England home and away.


"I'm only in my early 30s and when I was growing up I was told you play your best cricket in your early 30s, whereas since I've turned 30 all I get asked is when I'm going to retire."
New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Mills is being dished out a few bouncers

"It would have been nice to have stayed in till the end with the bat, and put some more runs on the board. With the ball, I didn't finish as well as I'd like to. But to pick up two wickets in the middle was pleasing."
Chris Woakes analyses his performance in the first ODI

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Derek on February 20, 2013, 0:41 GMT

    Si Baker Sinjuns Grammarians need you

  • John on February 20, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    Hopefully England will have adjusted better to the conditions for this game and will have learned from their mistakes. I said before the last game that I fancied NZ to edge it; this time I think England will have too much for the kiwis.

  • David on February 19, 2013, 23:10 GMT

    @Matthew Jones. You are right to a point. NZ in the early naughties was a formidable ODI side in large part due to the fact they had the best lower order going around...Oram, Cairns, Macca & Vettori batting at 6-9 with players like Mills still to come. Heck, I remember when Franklin used to bat at 10. The problem with the current crop of bits and pieces men though is that neither their bowling or batting is quite good enough, and teams stocked with them feel like NZ are trying to make a decent bowler or batsman in the aggregate, instead of just selecting a decent bowler, and a decent batsman. Of course, if they bring something else to the table (like Southee's batting) that's great, but they should be selected on the basis of their primary skill first, for example Southee is a good enough bowler that he'd still be selected if he batted like Chris Martin and fielded like Phil Tufnell. You need to trust your batsmen to make the runs, and your bowlers to take wickets/keep the runs down.

  • Mark on February 19, 2013, 21:43 GMT

    Hoping NZ goes for another bowler rather than Ellis, who is a mediocre international batsman and bowler at best and WILL get carted in Napier. Southee, Boult and Mills is a decent pace attack and the batting line up with Nathan McCullum at 8 is fairly long. NZ team suddenly looking fairly balanced!

    England don't need to change anything, their team is classy and will be better second game up.

  • Leigh on February 19, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    Quite happy with the NZ team would have probably gone for Latham over Rutherford though as his clean hitting is a closer replacement for Guptill, and Latham needs to be bought along carefully. Yes Napier wont suit our bowlers but its the same for both sides and winner will be the team with more aggressive batsman rather than accumulators.

  • K on February 19, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    Team should understand....How to defend Low Scores? and How to Chase big Score...That is all about the Game of Cricket!!!

  • K on February 19, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    England needs to be mind full approach. Reading batman mind and bowlers should bowl. Bowlers are just throwing bowls as per bowler's strengths, that should not work in cricket. It's Mind Game!!! Learn from the Match Winners like the legend Graham Gooch, Sir Ian Botham, Nasser Hussain. Apply Spin Force bowling. England needs to come out of this horrific situation asap.

  • David on February 19, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    As a mad kiwi sports fan this blackcaps team will take you on a rollercoaster ride. Brilliant one minute an embarassment the next. Until they get some consistency they can't be taken as a serious contenders.that is not winning every game but as least competeing and if you lose at least go down fighting

  • Martin on February 19, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster (February 19, 2013, 19:12 GMT) interesting to see you haven't changed at all. Still lecturing other people about their team when your own isn't much chop; recent ODI series loses in Zimbabwe, England, Australia, the Asia Cup, and an ODI series defeat at home to Pakistan. Don't you think it's a bit rich of you to come on here passing judgement over other teams? "England are not a good ODI team" you say - maybe so - but still good enough to beat your team 3-0. And by the way England had the bowling attack for the conditions in the UAE too, but you probably never noticed that.

  • Cricinfouser on February 19, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    @Vilander - It's not that simple. England did well in ODIs earlier this year without KP and lost the recent series in India despite his return to the side. Yes, they are undoubtedly a stronger side with him but they haven't suddenly 'become vulnerable' just because he is missing this series.

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