Tuesday, March 29, 2016

England Aim to Bring Down High Flying Kiwis at Kotla - ICC WT20 2016, 1st Semi Final - Match Preview

1st Semi Final: New Zealand Vs England – Ferozshah Kotla, Delhi 30th March 2016 - ICC WT20 Match Preview

The business end of the ICC WT20 2016 is here with New Zealand and England kicking off the first semi final at the Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi.

New Zealand have been the team to beat in this mega event and they have impressed everyone with their thoroughness, adaptability and the ability to handle high pressure. The fact that they have not used Boult and Southee thus far speaks volumes about them and when you throw in the fact that Brendon McCullum just retired a few months before the tournament, and then their performances become more magnanimous.

England have also earned their right to be in the last four having chased down a monstrous 230 against South Africa before delivering the knockout punch against the Lankans surviving in the face of an onslaught by Angelo Mathews.

The Kiwi batting has been led by the in-form Martin Guptill at the top who has been in smashing form over the past few months in the shortest format of the game. Kane Williamson proves to be a Zen like partner for the assaulting Guptill. Munro and Anderson, both highly destructive batsmen, have struggled a bit on the dusty Indian pitches but the Kotla track might just suit them. Ross Taylor has been amongst the runs and Luke Ronchi has often provided the Kiwis with the final thrust.

The English bowling appears to be their weaker suit with their pace bowlers lacking the consistency and the spinners being taken to the cleaners by Mathews and co at Kotla in their last game. Jordan and Stokes though hit their length perfectly in the death overs and bailed then out of a tough situation. Willey provides the left armers angle and he got some early swing with the new ball which might be tough to handle in a high pressure game. Liam Plunkett has provided them with a genuine pace option.

The English batting has been their saviour in this tournament raking up huge scores with relative ease. Hales and Roy provide them with high explosive firepower at the top. Root is a class batsman with the ability to adjust to the situation and his innings against the South Africans showed us his enterprising side to all of us. They are followed by Morgan, Stokes and Buttler - all of whom are well capable of taking the game away from the opposition on their own. Their batting depth is emphasised by the fact that Jordan, Ali and Willey come in so late in the order and can tonk the ball at will.

The English batsmen will be up against probably the most adaptable bowling line up of this World Cup. Their trio of spinners; Sodhi, Santner and McCullum - blew India away at the dusty Nagpur before returning to give the Bangladeshi batsmen a run at the same venue in this last game. Against Australia at Dharamsala and Pakistan at Mohali it was more of a team effort with every bowler chipping in with the wickets when required. Milne and McClenaghan have provided the raw pace while Anderson and Elliott have given them the dibbly-dobbly option!

It promises to be a mouth watering clash between two very good sides that have been playing a very pleasing brand of cricket recently. I believe that New Zealand hold the slight edge, having cruised through without any trouble this far, but England are not that far away. England's familiarity with the Kotla pitch might also negate the slight Kiwi advantage as they have played their last two games here. I believe it will be a close game but New Zealand might just prove to be too hot for the English to handle.

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