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March 21, 2014
Match FactsMarch 22, Chittagong
The Big Picture
These are two teams whose recent fortunes could hardly have been more contrasting: New Zealand had a home season where their game has been reinvigorated - capped by victories over India in both Tests and ODIs - while England lurched from disaster to disaster in Australia and have barely started the recovery process despite a small improvement in the West Indies.
New Zealand are usually fancied to at least reach the knockout stages of global events; England are rarely fancied to stay too long. That is pretty much the status quo this time.
This is a match between sides that play a similar brand of cricket. Neither side possess the unorthodox spin which is tipped to be eye-catching over the next couple of weeks, instead relying on more traditional bowling resources such as finger spin, brisk pace bowling and medium-pace cutters.
However, where the balance is tipped in New Zealand's favours is the batting power and the form of those individuals. Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, Luke Ronchi and the latest star, Corey Anderson, provide destructive capabilities.
England's batting has provided the odd flash of encouragement - notably from Michael Lumb and Jos Buttler - but there has been precious little consistency with how they have built recent innings. Eoin Morgan appears short of form, and questions remain over the severity of his knee problem (the captain, Stuart Broad, also has his own knee worries), while the absence of you-know-who continues to hang like a dark cloud.
Watch out for...
Michael Lumb has looked in as good form as any of England's top order in the last couple of weeks. He blitzed a career-best 63 in the third T20 against West Indies and struck the ball cleanly in the warm-up match against India. As with all England's batsmen he is more comfortable with pace on the ball and off the pitch, so if the Chittagong surface retains its characteristics from the opening round it will suit him.
Brendon McCullum has had a career-defining few months, leading his side to victories over India and scoring New Zealand's first Test triple-hundred. And now he is back in the format that helped cement his global fame when he struck 158 in the first ever IPL match. He is far and away the leading run-scorer in T20 internationals and he could play a floating role in New Zealand's order depending on the match situation. England have felt the force of his blade a few times before.
Stuart Broad, who appears to have overcome his knee injury for now, spoke about consistency of selection, which means that Ian Bell is likely to continue sitting on the bench having not played since being flown to the West Indies. With the seamers being in the game more at this venue, England will be tempted to go for the extra quick ahead of the second frontline spinner in Stephen Parry. Chris Jordan, the likely man to benefit, also brings some power to the lower order.
England (possible) 1 Michael Lumb, 2 Alex Hales, 3 Moeen Ali, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Stuart Broad (capt), 10 James Tredwell, 11 Jade Dernbach
Kane Williamson will provide the top-order anchor around the big hitters and his offspin will also come in very handy. Anton Devcich, the allrounder who bowls left-arm spin, could keep Ronnie Hira out of the starting XI. New Zealand have a strong hand of pace options; Trent Boult will find it hard to earn a spot.
New Zealand (possible) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Kane Williamson, 3 Brendon McCullum (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Corey Anderson, 6 Luke Ronchi (wk), 7 Anton Devcich, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan
Pitch and conditions
The pitch was a little grassy on the eve of the match with skiddy bounce rather than turn expected which would certainly please England. Broad thought it would go through for the quicks. Dew could be a problem for the evening game; England trained with wet balls to prepare for such an eventually.
Stats and trivia
"I think these conditions might suit us a little bit more than Dhaka and as players we need to make sure we make use them."
Stuart Broad was pleased with the relocation to Chittagong
"It's much better for us. He is obviously a world-class player and there is a demand for him around the world as well. "
Brendon McCullum on the absence of Kevin Pietersen
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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