This series is progressing thick and fast. This will be the third game in five days. And both teams have already seen some ups and downs. The momentum has swayed with both bat and ball for both New Zealand and England.
At one moment, it looked like no total can be too big for this England batting line-up and in less than 48 hours, they failed to chase down 177 on a good batting track. Only James Vince has registered a half-century so far and there have been five 30s from the English batsmen.
Same goes for New Zealand as well. No batsman has run away with the game. Their highest individual score is 44 which was made by Ross Taylor in the first game. Martin Guptill and James Neesham got 40s in the second and yet without any big score, the Kiwis posted 176 in the second game.
In one game, England bowlers were on top and the next they fall off. Only Chris Jordan and Sam Curran to an extent were good in both games. The same with New Zealand. In the first game, barring Mitchell Santner no bowler looked threatening but they bounced back well in the second game. All the bowlers chipped in to help the hosts win the game by 21 runs and level the series.
Hence, both teams head to Nelson with 1-1. While New Zealand will be happy with the squad, England might want to tinker a little bit. Joe Denly has been ruled out of the T20I series due to an ankle injury. Hence, England are left with 14 players. T20 Blast star Tom Banton will be itching to have a go. It’s surprising to see him warm the bench so far. He might just make his England debut at the expense of Dawid Malan. Meanwhile, Matthew Parkinson is the only other player who hasn’t got a game yet. Hence, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of XI England go in with and do these youngsters get a chance.
Chris Jordan has been brilliant at the death. He’s going at a rate of 6.37 in this series and has picked up five wickets. New Zealand have been wary of him and have tended to see him off. He has nailed the yorkers wonderfully and has used his other variations smartly too. Thus, he will be key for England and his battle at the death with the New Zealand middle-order will be an interesting one. Mitchell Santner has been very successful in this series. He’s picked up three wickets apiece in both games and has troubled the English batters. Moreover, Ish Sodhi picked up a couple of wickets in the second game as well. Hence, the spin duo will look to continue their form and trouble the strong England batting line-up.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Tim Seifert (wk), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, James Neesham, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee (c), Ish Sodhi
England: Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton/Dawid Malan, James Vince, Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings (wk), Sam Curran, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Saqib Mahmood, Patrick Brown
It is expected to be another good batting track and we may see another high scoring encounter. Hence, the bowlers will be under the spotlight and the team that bowls better might come out on top. Despite their loss in the second game, England will feel confident but their strong batting line-up collapsed in the second game and they’ll have to be wary of that. Meanwhile, the Kiwis will be happy with the way they bounced back after the loss in the first game. Hence, it’s a marginal call and may even be even-stevens going into the third game.