Posted by: tootingtrumpet | June 6, 2013

England vs New Zealand ODIs – The Final Over of the Series

The old Martin Guptill

The old Martin Guptill

Ball One – Jonathan Trott’s numbers don’t reflect his contribution

England’s Number Three has one of the most impressive records in ODI cricket – a batsman with an average of 53 at a strike rate of 76, is something that every captain would want in his side. So we must salute Jonathan Trott’s role in getting England up the rankings and amongst the favourites for the Champions Trophy. Yet the feeling persists that he just does not play the match situation well. Chasing New Zealand’s gigantic 359-3 at Southampton, at the halfway mark he had 39 from 50 balls with the required rate edging towards 9 and batsmen at the other end already taking too many risks. Though he finished with 109 at just better than a run a ball, even in the “play around me” role, Trott’s was an innings aimed at a target of 325 not 360.

Ball Two – ODIs need matchwinners with the bat

Martin Guptill’s two Man of the Match awards were the products of very different innings. At Lord’s, he knew his bowlers had done a fine job, so he was content to tick over while re-building the chase after losing two partners in the first over. Later, he simply coasted over the line. At Southampton, he built the platform then reaped the benefit with an extraordinary late assault. He, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor all have the weight and range of stroke to play such matchwinning innings. Whether England have batsmen capable of such innings remains unclear – Alastair Cook can score big and Eoin Morgan has shown that he can improvise and hit boundaries as has Jos Buttler, but the rest of England’s batting order have question marks against them as matchwinners. England, not for the first time, awaits the return of KP.

Ball Three – England need their tall quicks back

With two hard new balls in play and fielding restrictions tying captains’ hands, the batsmen have the ODI game set up in their favour. It’s hard to know what strategy would keep a set batsman quiet, but 80mph – 83mph bowlers whose natural length is “in the slot” definitely won’t! There’s some sign that England have recognised this fact by their call up of Warwickshire’s Boyd Rankin – the giant Irish pacer. For all that they bring with the bat, England cannot afford to have Bresnan and Woakes in the same ODI team. The tall men with the bat jarring lengths – Finn, Broad, Rankin and possibly Tremlett – have to be the key men to support Anderson and Swann.

Ball Four – New Zealand can beat anyone on their day

England’s lacklustre performances may have flattered New Zealand a little, but the Kiwis have an interesting mix of old heads and young talent, swing, seam and spin bowlers and hitters and strokemakers through the order. They field well and look to be enjoying each other’s successes. National teams that draw on relatively shallow pools of talent can often build a tight-knit, club ethos (especially on tour or in tournaments) that can lead them to punch above their weight. Don’t expect New Zealand to win the Champions Trophy, but don’t be surprised to see them in the semi-finals, fighting hard.

Ball Five – England need to sell seats

Lord’s, as in so many things, is a rule unto itself when it comes to putting bums on seats – so a Friday full house could be expected. Southampton had a rare gloriously sunny Sunday for the pivotal ODI in the series and failed to sell out, failed indeed to avoid the TV cameras panning across acres of plastic seats. Not only does that detract from the spectacle – it’s hardly event television if the locals don’t turn up – but it also reduces the gate money and the spend inside the ground. With all the knowledge available these days and so many tickets bought in advance, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a pricing structure that sells out the ground (or very near does so). Not only is the spectacle enhnaced live and on television, but many of the kids who turn up to see their heroes, whom they may only have glimpsed on free-to-air highlights, will be a fan forever once they taste the unique atmosphere of international cricket. Every empty seat is a missed opportunity – and few businesses can afford many of those, deep in this interminable recession.

Ball Six – Jos Buttler is the real thing

Because the maw of the media need stories, young England batsmen can be talked up a little more than their records support. That is a charge that might be leveled about Jos Buttler, but the emergence of Joe Root has taken some of the attention away from the Somerset slogger. It’s easy to see the talents of Root – and, in a way, it’s easy to see the talents of fellow 22 year-old Buttler too – but he is more than the ramp and bash merchant seen at the end of innings. Having watched him bat in the flesh a couple of times, I can confirm that he is the cleanest hitter of a cricket ball I have seen in English cricket for many years. He is still raw, still has a lot to learn, but he will soon be an England regular in all three forms of the game, probably as a pure batsman. The kid has got it all right.

You can tweet me @garynaylor999


  1. I was so hoping England would select Boyd Rankin, if only to push the cause of Irish Cricket with this little number:
    What’s the difference between the Irish cricket squad and the Australian cricket squad?
    The Irish cricket squad has 2 players good enough to make it into the English team.

  2. I was fan of New Zealand cricket team when when Stephen Fleming was captain there. He was legend of cricket and he played great matches for the victory of New Zealand. Your post is very informative regarding England’s and New Zealand’s cricket teams.

  3. if anyone looking to watch ICC Champ Trophy match online, this is good website

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