Kiwis face England in crucial tie

 
Daniel Vettori’s men take on undefeated England in the final Group B league clash at the Wanderers on Tuesday aware that nothing less than a victory will suffice. Perched on two points alongside Sri Lanka and South Africa, both of whom have completed their league engagements, the Kiwis (-0.129) have a substantially lower nett run rate than Sri Lanka (-0.085), even if they are better placed than an already eliminated South Africa (-0.177).

As if England’s unexpectedly sensational form in the competition doesn’t make their task extremely difficult, New Zealand must also deal with the loss through a groin injury of Jesse Ryder, the explosive left-handed opener whose blistering 74 set up their 38-run win over the Lankans on Sunday.

Ryder sustained the injury early in his innings and has been ruled out of the competition, the second Kiwi to fly back home during the course of the tournament after Jacob Oram (hamstring). His non-availability doesn’t merely take away an influential attacking option at the top of the innings, it also affects the balance of the side because his medium-pace would have come in most handy on a Wanderers strip that has tended to help the seam bowlers. Aaron Redmond, yet to play a play a one-dayer, has been drafted in as Ryder's replacement.

New Zealand’s batting has been very patchy and they have had to rely on the lower middle-order, marshalled by their captain, to bail them out of trouble. Against an England team that has paraded refreshingly carefree cricket to date, they can ill afford any slip-ups, particularly with so much on the line. England find themselves in a good place, their top-order clicking nicely and Eoin Morgan, the little left-hander, bringing flair, style and intent to the middle-order. Only paceman Stuart Broad has been a disappointment, and it will not be a massive surprise if he makes way for Ryan Sidebottom or Tim Bresnan in the final eleven.

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