New Zealand will be pushing to wrap up their one-day cricket series against England early and complete a remarkable transformation when the third match is played here on Friday (today).
After being comprehensively outplayed in the earlier Twenty20 games, New Zealand have turned their fortunes around to convincingly go 2-0 up after the opening two one-day matches.
Should New Zealand win the third game here, the rest of the five ODI series becomes academic ahead of the three Tests next month. It is a far more determined New Zealand side than that which crashed against South Africa and Australia before Christmas, while England have lost the ruthlessness that saw them come from behind to beat Sri Lanka 3-2.
Part of the reason is the new-look New Zealand opening partnership with 23-year-old Jesse Ryder given his chance to head the batting order with the dashing Brendon McCullum. Ryder was seen as a cricket prodigy whose “wild-child” approach to life had kept him out of the New Zealand team, but selector Sir Richard Hadlee said the hard-hitting batsman was now in the side because his attitude had improved.
His unbeaten 79 in the second match against England, coupled with McCullum’s 80 not out, carried New Zealand to a 10-wicket win and raised serious questions in the England camp. And it’s not just an inability to contain the New Zealand batsmen that bothers England, it’s also an under-performing top order and three run-outs in each of the two matches.
However, England coach Peter Moores does not believe his side should be counted out. “I think we can still win the series,” he said, adding it was difficult to explain the lapses in performance.
“I hope we’ve got the run-outs out of our system because there’s nothing more frustrating — especially when four of those were in our top seven.” New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori is not underestimating the chance of an England revival.
“We’ve come out and managed to put pressure on them like they did to us in the Twenty20s and we’ve got to continue that momentum because I still think these sides are evenly matched,” Vettori said.
“We’ve played to the top of our game so far in this series and we need to continue our momentum because good teams build on what they’ve done, they don’t fall back on it.” New Zealand are unlikely to tinker with their winning combination but England must be seriously weighing up changes.
Moores wanted to keep faith in the side which beat Sri Lanka but back-to-back hidings against New Zealand enhance the chances of Dimitri Mascarenhas replacing the struggling Ravi Bopara.
“We’ve got to look at the team and the areas in the team,” Moores said. “Do we need to make changes, do we need to freshen up? What do we need to do to put a team on the park that believes they can win and play the sort of confident cricket they played in the Twenty20s?”
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, February 15th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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