As we had predicted, New Zealand staged a solid comeback in the 2nd T20I of the series with England after losing the first one. The Black Caps won the 2nd match of the 5-match series by 21 runs and the score line now remains 1-1.
The 3rd match at Saxton Oval, Nelson, hence would be of paramount significance for both the teams. The one who wins this will have a real edge in the series.
New Zealand would go into this game with confidence after their clinical performance in the previous one. Their batting unit finally found some form and opener Martin Guptill’s 41 would come as a huge relief to the team. Colin de Grandhomme, Ross Taylor, and all-rounder James Neesham contributed with the bat and would look to continue that form in the next match. The lack of runs from opener Colin Munro and wicket-keeper Tim Seifert in both the matches is a concern, though.
New Zealand’s bowling was pretty good in the 2nd ODI. Captain Tim Southee led from the front (2-25) but the standout performer was yet again left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner (3-25). These two, along with Lockie Ferguson and off-spinner Ish Sodhi give New Zealand a varied attack and they will look to be effective in the 3rd T20I.
Meanwhile, England slipped after putting up a good show in the 1st match of the series. Their bowling lacked experience and barring Chris Jordan (3-28) and Sam Curran (2-22), the others were taken to the cleaners. This will be a big worry for captain Eoin Morgan in the remaining matches as leg-spinner Adil Rashid has been expensive and the likes of Saqib Mahmood and Patrick Brown have looked unimpressive.
England were poor in their batting department too with only Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan and Chris Jordan getting 30+ scores. This England batting lineup doesn’t look threatening and unless the Kiwi bowlers really falter, they are unlikely to be able to assert themselves for long.
Match Prediction: New Zealand vs England, 3rd T20I
There’s only been one T20I played at the Saxton Oval in Nelson – the venue for the 3rd T20I between New Zealand and England. The match was between New Zealand and West Indies played in 2017 which the Kiwis won by 47 runs after posting 187 on the board.
For the 3rd match, the pitch is expected to be a typical New Zealand surface – good for batting with help for the seamers early on. The team batting first should score in excess of 170. And the combined total for this game should be in the range of 320-330 runs.
New Zealand have finally got their rhythm and are looking in good shape. They have the home advantage and are also stronger than this England team. New Zealand should hence win the 3rd T20I match.