Kane Williamson dazzled with a crisp 100 in 97 deliveries, his ninth One-Day International century to propel New Zealand
Champions Trophy

ICC Fantasy Preview: England v New Zealand


England face New Zealand on Tuesday in a mouth-watering Group A tie and we’ve analysed the fantasy angles for you.

England face New Zealand on Tuesday in a mouth-watering Group A tie. We analyse the dangermen, the wildcards, the absolute steals and the stats you need to know to make sure you keep raking in those fantasy points. There’s no need to do your homework – we’ve done it for you.

Dangerman: Joe Root (9.0)

Coming off a ton against Bangladesh, Joe Root is the glue of arguably the tournament’s most dynamic batting line-up. Root’s maturity as the team’s lynchpin has contributed to England’s under-reliance on Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow, who’d surely get into any other side in the world. Root’s ability to hold an innings together and allow more flamboyant players to strut their stuff around him has made him England’s most vital asset alongside all-action allrounder Ben Stokes. Root finished with 133 not out off 129 balls against Bangladesh. If England go long in this tournament, Root will go big. Catch him while he’s hot (which is most games).

Last five ODI scores: 73, 37, 39, 2, 133*

CENTURY: Joe Root dazzles with an unbeaten 133

Dangerman: Kane Williamson (8.0)

On the back of a typically cool hundred in the first match against Australia, New Zealand’s blue-eyed boy is the Kiwis’ banker with the bat. Technically immaculate, temperamentally sound and tactically smart, Williamson is the fulcrum in New Zealand’s line-up. Coming in at No.3, the innings develops around his strokeplay, but he is much more than a mere accumulator of runs: six of his nine ODI hundreds to date have come at quicker than a run-a-ball. One of the ‘fab four’, Williamson has a place at the top table of modern batsmanship alongside Root, Steve Smith and Virat Kohli.

Last five ODI scores: 69, 23, 21, 9, 100

MATCH HERO: Kane Williamson

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Wildcard: Mark Wood 4.0

After a horror year with injuries in 2016, England’s fastest bowler is back, fit, and improving with each game that he plays. While he hasn’t blown any team away yet, he has still left his mark across the six ODIs he’s played over the English summer. An inspired final over against South Africa at Southampton last month clinched a game that England looked to have let slip by, and he has been given the responsibility to bowl first-up and at the death, where wickets are available.

Last five ODI figures: 1/24, 2/38, 1/49, 0/47, 0/58

Absolute steal: Luke Ronchi 3.5

He opens the batting, he looks in good touch and he’s cheap as chips. Luke Ronchi was the wildcard New Zealand unleashed in their abandoned match against Australia, and the nearest they have come to reincarnating the mighty Brendon McCullum, now part of the ICC Champions Trophy commentary team. Ronchi smashed the world’s best fast-bowling battery in the second match of the tournament, hitting 65 off only 43 balls. Transferring in Ronchi will free up some funds for the big guns.

Last 5 ODI scores: 37, 27, 35, 2, 65

MATCH HERO: Luke Ronchi

Numbers game:

The Kiwis have won six of their last seven matches against England in global 50-over tournaments. That sounds like bad news for England fans, right? Possibly not. England’s only win in that sequence came in the 2013 Champions Trophy in Cardiff – the venue for Tuesday's encounter. Oh, and Joe Root and Kane Williamson’s records are remarkably similar.

Top transfer tip:

If you’ve got Australia’s David Warner (9.5) or Steve Smith (9.0) in your side then they’re eating up a lot of your budget, but they won’t play for another five days. New Zealand players, however, play twice in three days. That means plenty of point-scoring opportunities. Yes, if they fail to beat England then they may struggle to get out of the group but you’ll get unlimited transfers between the end of the group stages and the first semi-final. You can then transfer your Aussies back in for the business end of the tournament. Sounds like a plan, right?

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