Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Tuesday 13 February, 19:00 local time; 06:00 GMT
New Zealand were in action in the first match of the triangular Twenty20 International series, against Australia in Sydney, and have since been waiting at home for their next outing. In the interim, Australia and England have faced off twice in a row, in Hobart and Melbourne, with the home side winning both games to seal their spot in the final of the tournament.
The action now shifts to New Zealand for the last three group-stage games and then the final, and it will start with New Zealand taking on England with both teams intent on getting on the points table.
To achieve that goal, New Zealand have dropped Tom Bruce and Tom Blundell from their 13-man squad and drafted in two uncapped players in Mark Chapman and Tim Seifert.
Both Bruce and Blundell played the opening fixture, and though neither did much with the bat, it was a poor effort overall, with the side finishing their 20 overs at 117/9. New Zealand will be desperate for a lift in their batting performance, and while Seifert should slot in as Blundell’s replacement as the wicketkeeper-batsman, it’s likely to be a toss-up between Anaru Kitchen and Chapman for the slot vacated by Bruce.
Kitchen, 33, has so far played five T20Is with moderate returns – 38 runs with a best of 16 at an average of 12.66 and a strike rate of 118.75. Chapman, meanwhile, is much younger at 23, and has quite a bit of international experience having played for Hong Kong in two One-Day Internationals and 19 T20Is. Since he became available to play for New Zealand – his father is a citizen of the country – he has been in excellent form. Most recently, he scored 307 runs in nine games at a strike rate of 171.5 in New Zealand’s domestic T20 tournament, and has since scored a half-century and a century in the ongoing 50-over competition.
There are injury concerns surrounding New Zealand with Kane Williamson in doubt for the crucial encounter. Henry Nicholls has been called up as replacement, but the New Zealand captain, who is suffering from a back injury, is confident of recovering in time for the game.
"I'm 100-ish [percent]," said Williamson. "I am looking forward to taking a full part in training and hoping I should be fit for tomorrow night but Henry is in as cover. I've got a bit of a back niggle and hopefully it's settled by tomorrow."
As for England, they competed hard in their first game against Australia, scoring 155/9, but were blown away by a Glenn Maxwell blitz. In the second, they were comprehensively beaten, by seven wickets with 33 balls left in Australia’s chase.
Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler have both played one good innings, but the batting hasn’t really come together yet for England. David Willey had a successful game the first time out but not quite the second time, as was true of most English players. Unfortunately for them, they might be without Eoin Morgan, their captain, again because of the groin injury that kept him out of the last game. James Vince, therefore, could get another game in the middle-order and Buttler should walk out for the toss again.
Colin Munro (New Zealand): One of the most exciting batsmen in the shorter formats of the game at the moment, Munro has had two poor outings in a row, scoring one against Pakistan in Auckland in late January and then being sent back by Billy Stanlake for three in the tri-series opener. He has the ability to get off the blocks quickly and get on a big-hitting spree, and New Zealand will hope he does that against England.
Jason Roy (England): Like Munro, Roy comes with a big reputation, but couldn’t quite get going in the two games so far, tallying nine and eight. He is in good form, having scored 180 in 151 balls and 49 in 46 balls in the first and final ODI of the series against Australia in January when England won 4-1. A bit of that could well help England change their fortunes.
The Westpac Stadium last hosted a T20I when Pakistan toured New Zealand recently, and that game, on 22 January this year, was a low-scoring affair with Pakistan bowled out for 105 after being put in. Prior to that match, though, the stadium has provided good tracks for run-scoring in T20Is and ODIs. However, it’s expected to be an overcast day in Wellington, and that might keep the pacemen interested.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Mark Chapman, Tim Seifert (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ben Wheeler, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Anaru Kitchen.
England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.