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Run-fest continues at Rose Bowl

England and New Zealand have set the bar high, and it could be a battle of who blinks first

Run-fest continues at Rose Bowl - Cricket News
England could be forced to make a change as Chris Jordan suffered a side injury while fielding and may have to make way for either Mark Wood or David Willey.
England was looking to ride on the wave of euphoria after its win in the first One-Day International but New Zealand once again showed why it is one of the most exciting sides in international cricket at the moment. After a  210-run loss, the visiting side posted a massive 398 for 5 before squeezing out a 13-run win by Duckworth-Lewis method to level the series. 

Earlier in the week, Eoin Morgan had made his intentions very clear. “For a long time now, we’ve been behind the eight-ball in one-day cricket and we’ve fallen behind by a long way, and it’s time for a catch-up,” he had said. And the new-look England is doing exactly that, showing that it is willing to risk a loss to go for the win.

This was especially evident in the second game. It made a solid start before slipping to 100 for 3 but kept attacking. Ben Stokes gave the innings the momentum, but Morgan launched an assault that, for most part of the second innings, threatened to take the game away from New Zealand. Morgan hammered 88 off just 47 balls after his enterprising 50 in the first game to show that he’s capable of leading the side and making meaningful contributions with the bat. 

Jos Buttler, who is currently the second highest run-getter in the series, too looked in good touch before his knock was cut short by Trent Boult for 41. Though England fell short, the effort was commendable.

While the usual suspects – Root, Morgan, Buttler - have been impressive, the team management would be particularly happy about Alex Hales's half-century. 

England, though, could be forced to make a change as Chris Jordan suffered a side injury while fielding. If unfit, Jordan will have to make way for either Mark Wood or David Willey. And with James Taylor on the bench, it will be up to Sam Billings to step up in the games ahead.

It's been tough work for the bowlers thus far, but Boult's form will be a huge boost for New Zealand. While Mitchell McClenaghan and Mitchell Santer have been expensive, Boult has held his own against the England line-up, giving away runs at just 5.40 and snaring six wickets. It was also Boult’s two wickets – accounting for Buttler and Billings – that turned the game at The Oval.

New Zealand doesn't believe in chopping and changing and is likely to go in with the same XI unless the team management decides to hand left-arm pacer Ben Wheeler an ODI debut in place of Santer. That would mean it will be left with only one specialist spinner – Nathan McCullum – Kane Williamson's part-time offspin.

Looking ahead to the third game at the Rose Bowl on Sunday (June 13), New Zealand's opening duo of Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum will have fond memories. The last time two sides faced each other in Southampton in 2013, Guptill hammered an unbeaten 189 while McCullum raced to a 19-ball 40 to help the team post 359 for 3. New Zealand went on to win the game by 86 runs.

If either Guptill or McCullum can replicate some of that form, a total around the 400-run mark could be on the cards again, especially with Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor in excellent touch.

New Zealand need to win all the matches or seal the series 3-2 now to maintain its third position in the ICC ODI team rankings. If England win the series 3-2, the visiting side will slip below South Africa to No. 4 in the table. 

Two matches. Two big scores. And two teams with a never-say-die spirit. Another cracking contest seems par for the course.

Teams (from)

Eoin Morgan (capt), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, David Willey, Mark Wood.

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Ben Wheeler.

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