Key Moments: Eng v NZ, 1st semi-final
From New Zealand's adaptability to England's 'home' advantage down to the power plays and opening gambits
30 March 2016 00:46
Both England and New Zealand will rely heavily on their power hitters at the top of the order when they lock horns in the first semifinal of the ICC World Twenty20 2016 in New Delhi.
Batsmen have had to work for their runs on the Ferozshah Kotla track for the most part. But Martin Guptill, who has 125 runs in three hits at a strike rate of 162.33 so far, can negate that and give New Zealand the quick start it needs. Similarly, England will bank on Jason Roy – 105 runs at 136.36 in four knocks – to play the role of the aggressor up front.
HOME ADVANTAGE – ENGLAND
England heads into the semifinal against New Zealand with possibly a slight advantage, having already played two matches at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi. What's more, England emerged victorious on both occasions, defeating Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in hard-fought matches that would have allowed the side to get a good feel of the conditions on offer.
New Zealand, on the other hand, is yet to play in New Delhi the ICC World Twenty20 2016.
NEW ZEALAND'S SPIN TO WIN METHOD
Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Nathan McCullum have forged an effective spin combine for New Zealand in the ICC World Twenty20 2016.
Santner, the left-arm spinner, has picked up nine wickets at an economy rate of just 5.73 from four games. Santner’s career best figures of 4 for 11 came against India in the first Super 10s match. Sodhi, the leg-spinner, has bagged 8 wickets at an even more impressive 4.97 runs an over, while McCullum, who has featured in just two games, has three wickets at an economy rate of just 4.20.
How the spinners fare against England could well decide which way the momentum swings in the semifinal.
ENGLAND’S DEATH BOWLING v NEW ZEALAND’S CHASE
New Zealand, despite its unbeaten Super 10 record in the ICC World Twenty20 2016, has never had to chase – not even in the warm-ups. If England is able to set a target, it will be confident that it can put Kane Williamson's side under pressure, especially after its bowlers' performance in the game against Sri Lanka. Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes executed yorkers with precision. While Jordan gave away just seven runs while taking two wickets, Stokes conceded four in the last over. "I'd much rather be doing that last over thing than sitting there watching,” said Stokes later. New Zealand will not want it to get that far.
THE ADAPTABLE WAYS OF KANE WILLIAMSON AND CO.
From Nagpur to Dharamsala to Mohali to Kolkata – New Zealand has covered a fair bit of northern India in its ICC World Twenty20 2016 campaign. Even while its geographic location has changed, the feature that has remained unaffected is how well Kane Williamson and company have read and adapted to the conditions on offer. Some of the calls have flown in the face of traditional wisdom, but the results at the end of the day – four wins in four group matches – have vindicated New Zealand’s strategy each time.
How the teams square off in the initial overs will not only set the tone for each innings, but also reveal what strategies Eoin Morgan and Kane Williamson have up their sleeves. Will Jason Roy and Alex Hales be denied pace to work with – and face up to spinners in the Power Play overs? Will Martin Guptill and Williamson be faced with yorker length deliveries first up that are difficult to get away? Ferozeshah Kotla will hold all the answers come match day.