England lose Prior to fractured thumb
A change of venue for England and they'll be hoping for a change of form as they target victory to keep themselves in the World Twenty20. But they were dealt a blow this evening when Matt Prior injured his right thumb in the nets. An x-ray revealed a fracture and Prior has been ruled out of the tournament. Vikram Solanki is likely to fill his spot though a replacement is still to be named.
England let South Africa off the hook at Newlands with a poor fielding display and another limp batting performance. New Zealand, though, are building after Daniel Vettori marshalled them to an impressive victory against India. They also have the advantage of already experiencing conditions in Durban after their opening match against Kenya.
Bat play: England's top order is causing plenty of headaches for Paul Collingwood. They reshuffled against South Africa by dropping Darren Maddy and moving everyone up one place, but Luke Wright bagged another duck. Solanki is the one remaining option to open the innings though he will now be saddled with additional keeping duties. It is important to make use of the allrounders. Collingwood admitted he was about to move Dimitri Mascarenhas up the order on Sunday but said: "The game moves so quickly, England need to think on their feet."
New Zealand, too, would probably like a little more from their top order but have the advantage of Jacob Oram and Craig McMillan lower down the order to lead any rescue act as they did against India with a stand of 73 in 5.2 overs. Brendon McCullum also looked in fine form while exploiting the first six overs.
Wrecking ball: England's bowling was impressive against South Africa as Collingwood used his options mostly in one-over bursts, with Andrew Flintoff working up a head of steam and conceding less than six-an-over. But they appeared to have one bowler to many as Jeremy Snape was given a solitary over and Collingwood's medium-pace will be another option in seamer-friendly Durban.
After their lightening start against Kenya, Shane Bond and Mark Gillespie have proved expensive in the last two matches. However, Bond retains the ability to provide vital early wickets and there is no shortage of bowling options. Vettori is showing how important good quality spin bowling can be at offering control.
Keep an eye on: The weather. Rain has played its part so far in Durban, but the forecast is promising for Tuesday so fingers crossed there won't be any intervention.
Shop talk: Collingwood knows the task ahead of England. "We know what we have to do from now on - we have to win our next two games, it's as simple as that," he said. "We usually respond pretty positively in these situations and I'm sure the boys will be wanting to do that. We're not down and out as yet and I'm sure we'll get a good response from all of them."
Although he is enjoying personal success, which has led his side into a strong position, Vettori isn't convinced by Twenty20. "I hope Twenty20 cricket will only be part of the landscape and not the future of the game," he said. "But I suppose we guys have to take this game seriously too."
Pitching it right: Bowlers have held sway so far and with the match starting at 10am there will be more help on offer.
England (probable) Vikram Solanki (wk), Luke Wright, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood (capt), Owais Shah, Andrew Flintoff, Darren Maddy, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Chris Schofield, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
New Zealand (probable) Lou Vincent, Brendon McCullum (wk), Peter Fulton, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Craig McMillan, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori (capt), Shane Bond, Mark Gillespie, Jeetan Patel
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer on Cricinfo