WT20 Semis: A Confident NZ Will Take on A Spirited English Side

New Zealand will rely on their spinners, who have wreaked havoc in the tournament, in their clash against England.

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Sports
4 min read
England will take on New Zealand in the first semi final of the WT20 tournament. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

A supremely confident New Zealand will rely on spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, who have wreaked havoc in the tournament so far, in their clash against England. Scheduled for Wednesday, the match promises to be a thrilling first semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20.

On paper, New Zealand are the favourites against 2010 champions, who have not exactly been consistent in their entry into the last four.

Yet to win a global tournament, a New Zealand victory would also be a fitting tribute to the late Martin Crowe from cricketers like Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott, all of whom shared a close bond with the former national skipper.

New Zealand Have Been Willing to Adapt

In Kane Williamson, New Zealand have found an astute skipper, ready to adapt to the conditions and change according to the demands of the situation. That has been the hallmark of New Zealand’s performance in this tournament and their four-win streak in the group league stage is testimony to that.

In Kane Williamson, England have found an astute skipper. (Photo: AP)
In Kane Williamson, England have found an astute skipper. (Photo: AP)

For England, the binding factor has been Joe Root’s inspirational innings of 83 that helped them chase down a mammoth 230-run target against South Africa. Jos Buttler’s whirlwind half-century against Sri Lanka and brilliant death bowling by Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes have been memorable displays by the English side.

The unlikely heroes in New Zealand’s campaign have been unheralded left-arm spinner Santner and leg-break bowler Sodhi, who have been the architects of Beige Brigade’s success in the tournament so far.

While Santner has snared nine wickets in 15 completed overs giving away only 86 runs, Sodhi has been close on heels with eight scalps in 15.4 overs conceding 78 runs.

That New Zealand’s wins have come at four different venues is commendable.

Kiwi Fast Bowlers Warming the Bench

Williamson and coach Mike Hesson have used 13 players out of their 15-man squad in the four matches so far. And the ones who have been warming the benches are none other than their two premier fast bowlers – Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

Kiwi fast bowler Tim Southee, at a practice session. (Photo: AP)&nbsp;
Kiwi fast bowler Tim Southee, at a practice session. (Photo: AP) 

As his team plays at another new venue, one would like to see what tricks are up Williamson’s sleeve in the match at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground, which is known to help slow bowlers.

England have three capable left-handers in Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali, which may prompt Williamson to think about playing McCullum.

The only aspect that could bother New Zealand less than impressive batting thus far: they’ve crossed 150-run mark on one occasion only, and that against an out-of-form Pakistan side. Guptill is the only batsman who has made over 100 runs (125) in the tournament till now.

England’s Primary Concern is Consistency

For a young England team, the tournament has gone off well so far. The advantage for them is familiarity with the conditions, having already played two matches at Kotla.

The primary concern for the team has been their consistency.

Their batting clicked in the first two matches against the West Indies and South Africa while it nearly fell apart against Afghanistan. It was good in patches against Sri Lanka. It was Buttler’s individual brilliance that helped them post a competitive total on a tricky pitch.

The pace attack of David Willey, Chris Jordan and Stokes were taken apart by Chris Gayle in the first game and then by Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock in the next encounter.

Quinton de Kock has taken apart England’s pace attack. (Photo: AP)
Quinton de Kock has taken apart England’s pace attack. (Photo: AP)

Against Afghans, spinners Adil Rasheed and Moeen did the job while Jordan and Stokes were brilliant at the death against the Lankans.

The batting will largely depend on Root, but on their day, Alex Hales, Stokes, Buttler and skipper Morgan with his oodles of experience in franchise cricket, can prove to be a handful.

They are the form team; they haven’t lost a game yet. We played them in a warm-up game and beat them, so we will take confidence from that. We’ve beatem them in our English summer. We know if we can play to our capabilities like we did against Sri Lanka, then no matter who we face, we will give them a good game.
Ben Stokes

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