Cricket World Cup: England face tricky clash with hosts New Zealand
It is fair to say that neither New Zealand (odds-on 8/15 favourites with Coral) nor England (6/4) were in top form in their last ICC World Cup Group A games. The former were close to being upset by minnows Scotland and the latter were humiliated by Australia, yet again.
However, the other co-hosts, the Kiwis, were more impressive in their opening match of the tournament against 2011 finalists Sri Lanka, as they beat them by 98 runs.
The star of the show that day was young all-rounder Corey Anderson, who until recently held the record for the fastest ever ODI century – South Africa’s AB de Villiers now holds the accolade.
Anderson, 24, smashed 75 off just 46, before getting the best bowling figures of 2-18 as well. He is a terrific 10/1 chance to be top New Zealand batsman again, and 4/1 to do so with the ball once more too.
But fellow 24-year-old Kane Williamson, who recently re-signed for county side Yorkshire, is the hosts’ main hope. He dug in against against Scotland to top score for his team with 38, and is the 11/4 favourite to be best New Zealand batsman again.
England will be aiming to limit their opposition hitters, and can take heart from their northern neighbours’ heroic performance.
Steven Finn has impressed Down Under this year, including in the recent Tri Series against Australia and India. The giant pace bowler was the one of the few bright sparks against the Aussies in his nation’s opening game of the tournament, getting a five-for as well as a hat-trick along the way. You can back Finn at 3/1 to best with the ball for England again.
With the bat, back James Taylor, who recently earned himself a new increment contract with his country, after playing in his 10th ODI in 12th months against Australia.
Taylor hit a terrific 98 not out that day, and was unlucky not to get a century after James Anderson was wrongly ruled run out at the end. But he is 5/1 to top score for England once more.
Following the 111-run loss to Australia, captain Eoin Morgan said: “The guys are really disappointed. There is a sense of frustration.
“The big games that we play, these first two games in particular, are great practice for the later stages in the tour. If we can get wins under our belt against good opposition, it can breed confidence for later in the tour.”
New Zealand’s Brendan McCullum, meanwhile, added: “England have a good bowling attack. They have a bit of pace and they get some bounce with [Stuart] Broad and Anderson.
“They’re going to post some different challenges to what we’ve probably faced in the last little while, but it’s a challenge the boys are looking forward to. The wicket at Wellington has a few runs in it, so hopefully we can adapt.”