What is it?
We’ve very much reached the point now where all World Cup games are either monumentally important or entirely irrelevant. This one falls very much into the former category, a clash between the only two teams to so far meet India without losing. The game has massive repercussions for both teams involved as well as Pakistan and, potentially, Bangladesh. A win for either England or New Zealand guarantees their semi-final spot; a tie or a washout puts both through. Defeat isn’t terminal for either, especially New Zealand. You can check out the latest standings here and all the current semi-final permutations are here.
When is it?
Wednesday July 3 at 10.30am in what is belatedly a sweltering British summer.
Where is it?
The Riverside in Chester-le-Street. Instinctively you’d expect a pitch favouring seam bowling – very much a strength of both these sides – although Monday’s game here between West Indies and Sri Lanka featured two players making their first ODI centuries and two totals in excess of 300. That, though, was a dead rubber so maybe the pressure was off. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 203 here by South Africa, who muddied the water further by sauntering to their target. The weather is also set fair which should help the batsmen, as well as negating that grimly tantalising prospect of the semi-final line-up being settled by a washout. Anyway, get more details on the ground here.
Where can I watch it?
It’s on Sky Sports Main Event (ch 401) and Sky Sports Cricket (ch 404) in the UK.
What are the odds?
England have hardened to 2/5 from 4/7 favourites for this one on the back of Sunday’s fine win over India. That’s fair enough given the way Eoin Morgan’s side returned to the aggressive approach that has served them so well over the last four years. New Zealand, who have lost their last two games, are 7/4.
England at the 2019 World Cup
May 30: England (311/8, 50/50 overs) beat South Africa (207, 39.5/50 overs) by 104 runs
June 3: Pakistan (348/8, 50/50 overs) beat England (334/9, 50/50 overs) by 14 runs
June 8: England (386/6, 50/50 overs) beat Bangladesh (280, 48.5/50 overs) by 106 runs
June 14: England (213/2, 33.1/50 overs) beat West Indies (212, 44.4/50 overs) by eight wickets
June 18: England (397/6, 50/50 overs) beat Afghanistan (247/8, 50/50 overs) by 150 runs
June 21: Sri Lanka (232/9, 50/50 overs) beat England (212, 47/50 overs) by 20 runs
June 25: Australia (285/7, 50/50 overs) beat England (221, 44.4/50 overs) by 64 runs
June 30: England (337/7 (50/50 overs) beat India (306/5, 50/50 overs) by 31 runs
New Zealand at the 2019 World Cup
June 1: New Zealand (137/0, 16.1/50 overs) beat Sri Lanka (136, 29.2 overs) by 10 wickets
June 5: New Zealand (248/8, 47.1/50 overs) beat Bangladesh (244, 49.2/50 overs) by two wickets
June 8: New Zealand (173/3, 32.1/50 overs) beat Afghanistan (172, 41.1/50 overs) by seven wickets
June 13: India v New Zealand – Match Abandoned
June 19: New Zealand (245/6, 48.3/49 overs) beat South Africa (241/6, 49/49 overs) by four wickets
June 22: New Zealand (291/8, 50/50 overs) beat West Indies (286, 49/50 overs) by five runs
June 26: Pakistan (241/4, 49.1/50 overs) beat New Zealand (237/6, 50/50 overs) by six wickets
June 29: Australia (243/9, 50/50 overs) beat New Zealand (157, 43.4/50 overs) by 86 runs
England v New Zealand betting preview
England will have been pleased to see two 300+ scores at the Riverside on Monday. The more runs there are in this game, the better it is for the hosts.
The narrative around England needing flat pitches to win is flawed, and England are capable of making big scores on pitches that are not roads – the 311/8 against South Africa in the opening game of this tournament a case in point. But there is no doubt that as the best ODI batting side in the world on flat pitches – perhaps the best ODI batting side in history on flat pitches – they would prefer to see conditions where 320 is par rather than 270.
New Zealand for their part have struggled somewhat with the bat even before their recent defeats. They are yet to post 300 in the tournament – England have done so five times – and made hard work of chasing down 245 and 242 against South Africa.
Their bowling has been excellent, but as England showed against India they have the weapons to take down even the very best bowling attacks.
New Zealand’s recent batting struggles means we reckon the outright prices are about right even if New Zealand are always the sort of side you quite want to back at big prices given their fondness for upsetting the odds at World Cups.
What those batting woes do convince us of, though, is that even at 11/4 – enhanced from 9/4 -Kane Williamson is the man we want to be with as top New Zealand run-scorer. He has a phenomenal ODI record in England, with 1269 runs at an average approaching 75 and four hundreds in 21 innings.
Williamson has 454 runs at this tournament; no other New Zealand batsman has reached even 200. With Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor both struggling to produce their best form Williamson stands apart.
At a bigger price, Twitter’s Jimmy Neesham is worth considering at 10/1. The unbeaten 97 he made against Pakistan to rescue New Zealand from a truly desperate position was world class.
Paddy’s Power Prices
Jason Roy (England)
His importance to this England side was not in any real doubt, but his return against India after the defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia really did hammer the point home.
He swaggered back into the side, slapped two fours in the first over and, along with a rejuvenated Jonny Bairstow took down India’s spinners. An opening partnership of 160 in 22 overs, and all England’s angst from the last week had gone. Even had the good sense to get himself whacked on the arm that allowed him to sit out India’s innings rather than put any unwanted strain on those hamstrings, so should be fit and firing for another huge game.
Liam Plunkett (England)
At some point, England might work out that Plunkett should be among the first names on Engalnd’s teamsheet. It’s simplistic to point out that England have won four from four with Plunkett in the side and one from four (against Afghanistan which, it would be fair to say, was not primarily down to the bowling) without him.
If you had a drink every time Nasser Hussain mentions the words “Liam Plunkett” and “middle overs” on commentary, you would be soon be hospitalised. But it remains worth repeating. He is statistically the best middle-overs bowler in the world, his simple method of bowling cross-seam and letting the subsequent natural variation do the work.
His performances at this World Cup may not have been directly match-winning, but they have certainly been match-influencing. He has dismissed Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Mushfiqur Rahim, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya. It’s a handy list.
This week I want to talk about...
“After that Test cricket will be something that won’t see me.”
Professional but bat-shit crazy.
And all because of the “blueprint”?
Maharaj frustrated, but it’s another great win for England.
Simmons scored 91 not out to see West Indies to a nine wicket win.
Perks of the role, eh Woody?
What a day for bowling all-rounder Joe Root.