Preview – Confident England hold the edge against running out of steam New Zealand
At the halfway mark of the ICC World Cup 2019, New Zealand were on the top of the points table and looked like the team to beat. But the last week has changed their fortunes as they lost back-to-back games against Pakistan and Australia and have now slipped to 3rd in the points table with 11 points in 8 games and a net run rate of +0.572.
England, meanwhile, have recovered after their mid-tournament slip-up and beat India comprehensively in their last game. They now have 10 points in their eight games with a net run rate of +1.000. When England and New Zealand meet for their World Cup 2019 clash at Chester-le-Street, both teams would be desperate for a victory to secure a safe semi-final passage. However, the game is much more important for England as a loss here might put their semi-final hopes in jeopardy.
After having beaten India in a complete performance, though, England would be confident of getting past a New Zealand side which is suddenly looking vulnerable. The return of opener Jason Roy caused an immediate boost for England in the game against India as he and centurion Jonny Bairstow put up a stunning opening stand of 160. The scintillating form of Ben Stokes down the order will hold them in good stead, but skipper Eoin Morgan and Joe Root might have to come good too.
England’s bowling was outstanding on a superb batting deck against India. Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Liam Plunkett, and Mark Wood along with Ben Stokes, would look to continue the good work against New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the one big headache for New Zealand has been the form of their batting unit. Opener Martin Guptill has been horribly out of form in the tournament. Ross Taylor and Tom Latham haven’t come right yet, and Colin de Grandhomme and James Neesham have been good only in patches. They will have to perform collectively, or the onus will once again fall on captain Kane Williamson.
New Zealand’s bowling has been excellent. Trent Boult would be riding high on confidence after his hat-trick against Australia. Lockie Ferguson, James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, and spinner Mitchell Santner will have to be at their best if they hope to stop this strong English batting unit.
Pitch Conditions and England vs New Zealand Prediction:
The pitch at Chester-le-Street is expected to be a true one. Sri Lanka posted a dominant 338-6 – the highest total on this venue – against the West Indies in the last World Cup game played here, and they almost chased down the target too.
If England bats first, we can expect a total in the range of 300-320.
In the last five ODIs between the two sides, England has emerged victorious thrice and lost two times. It should have ideally been a similar contest for this high-octane World Cup 2019 clash between New Zealand and England. But given England’s batting firepower and complete performance in the last game and how New Zealand is fast running out of steam at the back end of the tournament, this England side would fancy their chances in this must-win game.