Do you remember the ODI World Cup final between England and New Zealand at Lord’s on 14 July 2019? England needed 15 runs in the last over in a match that frozen the eyelids, made the heart rest, and made the body numb. Trent Boult did not give a run in the first two balls, then New Zealand-born Ben Stokes hit a six off the next ball. Stokes then hit the ball at deep midwicket. Fielder Martin Guptill made a straight throw, which hit Stokes with the bat and went for a boundary. Umpire Dharmasena gave six runs, which used to be five runs. Two runs were scored in the next two balls and two runs out.
After this the match went into the Super Over and the Super Over was also tied. After this, England was declared the winner on the basis of more fours and sixes. Then England won the ODI World Cup for the first time, whereas New Zealand has never won a World Cup till date. Certainly, Kane Williamson’s army will want to heal the pain they met two years ago when these two teams make it to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Injury became England’s problem: The English team, a strong contender for the title, is struggling with the problem of injured players. Eoin Morgan’s English team were considered title contenders even before the tournament and they performed to their laurels, but the loss in the last Super-12 match against South Africa made it clear that Eoin Morgan’s The team leading is not invincible. England has suffered a setback after opener Jason Roy was ruled out with an injury. Rai and Jos Buttler have been the explosive opening pair of the tournament. Rai is out of the World Cup and in such a situation, Jonny Bairstow along with Butler can go out to open the innings. For England, players like Butler, Bairstow and Moeen Ali have been special, who have the ability to turn the game on their own. Despite the absence of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, the team has done well in this tournament.
Chance for Billings: Sam Billings can be kept in the playing XI as a middle-order batsman in place of Rai. The positive side for England is that most of their batsmen have spent time at the crease and they are ready for the semi-finals. The team’s concern has increased after Tymal Mills was ruled out of the tournament due to a thigh injury in bowling. Mills was doing well in the death overs. This would be an area that the opposing team would like to take advantage of. Mark Wood has the pace, but not the variety, like Mills. He was the most expensive bowler against South Africa. England, however, will try to forget that defeat and start afresh. The role of spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid will be crucial. They would like to put pressure on New Zealand by getting successes in the powerplay and the middle overs.
New Zealand is a fine team: Under Williamson’s captaincy, New Zealand was defeated in the final of the 2019 World Cup, but since then this team has performed well in every format. New Zealand had won the first World Test Championship title this year by defeating India. New Zealand certainly have the best bowlers in the tournament, restricting a strong team like India for 110 runs. The Afghan team was also able to score only 125 runs against him. It is not easy to face the dangerous pair of Trent Boult and Tim Southee who bowl with excellent line and length. His strategy could have gone awry after Luckie was ruled out due to injury, but Adam Milne did not let him miss him. Both the spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner have also been effective. Their batsmen have also made an impact so far. Opener Martin Guptill has scored the most runs for the team while his partner Daryl Mitchell is in very good form. Captain Kane Williamson is their dependable batsman and he would like to make a significant contribution in the semi-finals. However, the team lacks an X factor. If England makes a very big score then it will be difficult for New Zealand to chase it.
Pitch and weather reports-
The pitch in Abu Dhabi has been favorable for batting and big scores can be made in this match. Water has been provided in the pitch, but if it is sunny in the morning, then a good score can be scored on it. It will be sunny in the morning and wind will blow in the evening, which will not make much difference.
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, David Malan, Adil Rashid, James Vince, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Tom Curran, Reece Topley.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jameson, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Adam Milne.