Venue: Hagley Oval, Christchurch (NZ)
Date: Friday, November 1, 2019
It seems like this year has just been full of clashes in the sporting arena between England and New Zealand. This series – part of a larger England tour of New Zealand – follows the epic 2019 Cricket World Cup final (won by the English) and the almost as epic 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final (also won by the English). Is it time for the Black Caps to exact some revenge as the year heads to a close?
It feels like this international cricket season has sort of snuck up out of nowhere with the amount of high-level sport that has been played over the last three months. This match will be a poignant one, with the last scheduled international at Hagley Oval having been abandoned against Bangladesh after the tragic mosque shootings nearby on March 15.
The controversial World Cup final at Lord’s – a game played under the one-day format – serves as a great background to this five-match Twenty20 series. That though is probably all the similarities we can draw, with a different format and a hectic few months for England meaning that the visitors have a much-changed – and some would argue highly understrength – side touring the land of the long white cloud.
England have named just three of their Would Cup heroes in their touring squad for this series after a summer of World Cup parties and Ashes Tests. Skipper Eion Morgan is retained, with opener Jonny Bairstow and spinner Adil Rashid as the only other members of the party who lifted the World Cup this year.
The England squad features six rookies who will be hungry for their first cap and to show what they can do on the international stage. The group of Tom Banton, Saqib Mahmood, Lewis Gregory, Pat Brown, Sam Curran and Matt Parkinson will all be out to show they have what it takes to step into battle with a more established version of the England T20I team somewhere down the road.
Expect a lot of youthful exuberance – and the mistakes that come from such an inexperienced team at this level – from the tourists. It should make for some fascinating cricket.
New Zealand will be without their captain from three months ago, with Kane Williamson resting until the Test match part of this series to try to alleviate a long-term hip issue. The Black Caps have named six players from that team in their XI, with Ross Taylor, Jimmy Neesham, Martin Guptil, Mitchell Santer, Colin de Grandhomme and Lockie Ferguson all gearing up to take on the English once again.
The missing man – along with Williamson – is fast bowler Trent Boult, a player whose pacy deliveries are tailor-made for the short-form version of the game.
England have won 10 of the 15 T20I matches against New Zealand and you feel like they will pick up a win or two somewhere along the way in this series. This, though, is a game that New Zealand needs to win given everything that has happened this year so the favourites are the pick here with BetXchange.
We also like Colin Munro to the be top New Zealand batsman at 2.50 on BetXchange. He is one of the top three T20I batsmen in the world and he just blasted 107 not out from 57 balls in a warm-up match for this series.