The ODI series between England and New Zealand is finely poised at 1-1 after England won in Southampton on Sunday and now one of them will secure a share of the spoils when the two teams meet at The Oval on Wednesday.
New Zealand have a convincing win to their credit and England replied in kind and now hopefully they will both perform at their best and we can truly assess each side ahead of a wide open World Cup which is just over three weeks away now.
After a pretty poor display with the ball in Cardiff which led to the inevitable doubters over their World Cup title defence getting their chance to be loud, England will be delighted with their response in Southampton and will be out to show that their dismal display in the first game was just an anomaly, potentially caused by a couple of players having to come on for the run. A strong showing here will put those concerns to bed.
The one thing that can be guaranteed about this England team is they are hard to bowl out. Even when their top order gets skittled you are only really halfway through this side and we saw that in Southampton. Where this England side differs from the one which won the World Cup is this team has the ability to rebuild an innings that is going nowhere and then launch the attack again but if their top order can score it makes things so much easier.
When you consider how New Zealand won the final two T20s and then eased to victory in the first of the ODIs, I’m sure they will be disappointed to lose as tamely as they did in the second game in Southampton. What would have made the loss harder to take was the fact that they had England 28-4 at one stage and still went down by 79 runs. The first 15 overs of that match New Zealand looked well on top but it steadily went wrong from there.
The Kiwis should have learned two things from that defeat. The first is that they have to keep taking wickets right throughout the innings otherwise they will be vulnerable at the back end. The other thing they need to do is ensure that when they lose a couple of wickets they just stem the losses and rebuild the innings. Daryl Mitchell showed that they’ll be able to catch up so they can take a few overs just to redress the balance.
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England are still waiting to get Jason Roy and Mark Wood into the series and will be hoping that they can do so in this match. Should they be fit you would imagine the pair of Harry Brook and Reece Topley will be the ones to sit out.
New Zealand brought Trent Boult into their side for the second game at the expense of Lockie Ferguson but with Tim Southee being expensive and not a guaranteed starter in the World Cup, Ferguson could come back in for him.
ODI matches at The Oval either tend to be very high scoring or absolute damp squibs but I fancy we are going to get the former here. The last three T20 matches were exactly that, as was the opening match of this series. The second game wasn’t really particularly high scoring but I do think that the rain and murky conditions played a part in that and there is none of that to worry about here as although the heatwave has left the UK, there is no rain in London on Wednesday and temperatures will be pleasant.
We all know by now that wherever possible England like to play their cricket on flat pitches, even if it is to the detriment of their bowling unit, and I don’t think that is going to change at The Oval where the wickets can be really flat. Boundaries tend to flow on this ground. Even last year when India were the visitors and bowled England out in the first innings for just 110 yet there were still 33 boundaries even though there was only 224 runs in the match. Based on what we’ve seen of these two over the last couple of weeks we’ve got to think both will be getting upwards of 300 and when you use that ODI boundary to run ratio for this one you’ve got to think a 62.5 boundary line isn’t high enough. That is backed up from the first ODI of this series where there were 67 boundaries at a Cardiff track where the square boundaries are renowned to be among the biggest going around. I like over 62.5 boundaries here.
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