02:00 PM UTC: England vs New Zealand, Semi Final 1, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup
Two years after playing a high-tension Fifty-Over World Cup Final in 2019, New Zealand and England will cross paths in the first Semi-Finals of the Twenty-Over World Cup. The last these two played in an ICC competition, the match remained tied till the Super Over but England won on the basis of boundary count. Are we going to see a similar type of game?
Hush-hush style of New Zealand
New Zealand must not care about being called “underdogs'' as they work like silent assassins. Despite making the Finals of the 2019 Fifty-Over World Cup and being just a hit away from winning, then claiming the World Test Championship this year, the team is not counted among the favourites. Once again, the team advanced ahead of the virtual favourite India, showcasing once again that the squad is built for big-time tournaments. It is not surprising that the team is here, many of the players who were involved in the last two World-level campaigns are here after all.
Two strong bowling sides
England can’t take New Zealand tightly. The team has an experienced pace attack with Southee and Boult up-front while spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner can pose problems too. Adam Milne can show grit with his pace and overall, this bowling attack has a lot of bite. With Jason Roy out of the picture, an in-form Jos Buttler will have his work cut out. Will Bairstow open with Buttler or will Malan get a go?
On the other hand, the same can be said about the England bowling which has been phenomenal. Although the combinations are still up in the air, Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes have been on point throughout this competition. With spinners like Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, you can always turn the game and remember New Zealand doesn’t bat deep with Santner coming at number 7. Can England exploit that weakness? Are we set for another back-and-forth affair between two quality sides?