New Zealand squad for England T20Is: Hits and Misses
New Zealand will look to further build on their good T20I form this year, especially now that they have an inexperienced England outfit pitted against them.
The team has won 5 of their last 7 T20Is played this year and 3 of their last 5. They have won each of their last three T20I series. After beating Sri Lanka in January, the team registered a T20I series win against India at home, following it up with another 2-1 win over Sri Lanka. The Black Caps will look to make it four on the trot.
It will only help that most of the England regulars have been rested as the team looks to to mix and match a few players and give them opportunities in the lead up to the T20 WC.
Colin Munro and Martin Guptill will start the proceedings for the team with young wicket-keeper batsman Tim Seifert following at one drop. This makes for an explosive top three and the players gave a sample of that in the practice matches against England as well.
This is backed up by the experience of Ross Taylor at number four who has big hitters on either side with Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham following him.
Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson are New Zealand's leading pace bowlers in the absence of Trent Boult, who will return for the last two matches of the series. Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi provide the hosts with quality spin bowling options and the team is looking quite well-rounded.
Let's have a look at the hits and misses of New Zealand squad for the T20I series against England:
As opposed to England who are without a lot of their experienced players, New Zealand look like a settled outfit with 7 or 8 of their players being a certainty for the upcoming T20 World Cup. The Black Caps have 26 T20Is to go before the upcoming World Cup and this will only give them an opportunity to further get their personnel right.
The experience of Colin Munro and Martin Guptill at the top is well complemented by the T20I experience of Tim Southee and Mitchell Santner.
Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme are both quality all-rounders and are likely to be a part of the New Zealand starting XI. Both have the ability to not only bowl some quiet overs in the middle but also go big at any given time in the match, which gives the team more options both with the bat and ball.
Neesham was on fire in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League 2019 and has been in great touch right from this year's ODI World Cup.
New Zealand have possibly one of the best and diverse spinning duo in T20Is. Ish Sodhi is an attacking leg spinner who can buy wickets and will be handy on the Australian grounds in the upcoming T20 World Cup where the fields will be big and batsmen will find it tough to clear the boundary.
Mitchell Santner complements him well and has been doing well since his return to international cricket after a grave knee injury. He is more of a container and puts a squeeze on the opposition. The batsmen then try to muscle the ball and are caught out in the process.
"Tim [Southee] will have a variety of bowling options including our spin combination of Ish and Mitch who are both ranked inside the top ten T20 bowlers in the world," New Zealand coach Gary Stead said while announcing the squad.
Death bowling a concern
While New Zealand have got almost all things covered, what they seem to be falling short on is their death bowling. Each of Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell and Blair Tickner have an economy of around 8 or more in T20s and the team will need at least one of them to rise to the occasion in the series.
Tim Southee has also gone for a lot of runs in the death overs in international cricket and IPL of late. Lockie Ferguson has generally been good with his bouncers and yorkers but his pace makes him a dangerous customer on the New Zealand grounds that have short boundaries.
So, until Trent Boult returns for the last two matches, New Zealand can struggle for death bowing options.
Absence of Kane Williamson
Few will disagree that Kane Williamson may not be the most flamboyant option in T20 cricket but adds a lot of value to the team in any format of the game as a leader. New Zealand now have only Ross Taylor who is bit of a accumulator and they will need someone like a Williamson in moments of crisis even in T20Is. Apart from his batting ability, he also brings in a sense of calm in the team and is a big loss for the Black Caps.
"We've been monitoring the injury for a while now and it's the same issue that ruled him out of the final test against Bangladesh back in March. It's disappointing timing for Kane at the start of an exciting Kiwi summer, but we feel it's the right decision with a busy season ahead," Gary Stead said.
Trent Boult not available for the first three matches
Trent Boult will be key to the fortunes of New Zealand if they have to make a dent in the T20 World Cup. With his tweaked action, Boult is one of the few bowlers who can extract swing with new ball even in conditions that are not conducive for swing bowling at all.
Even if he finds a hint of swing, Boult could be a handful for the England batting line-up who has a clear weakness against left-armers. At the death as well, with his wide yorkers and cutters, Boult is an asset for the team.
However, he will not be available for the first three matches in a bid to prepare for the two-match Test series following the T20Is and will certainly be missed.
New Zealand T20I squad- Tim Southee (c), Trent Boult (for the final two matches), Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (for the first three matches), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner
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