Adaptable Kiwis take on gritty English

Adaptable Kiwis take on gritty English

Adaptable Kiwis take on gritty English

Playing cricket in India is akin to solving a crossword puzzle for most foreign teams with pitches and conditions having bamboozled even the best of minds.

Under such circumstances, New Zealand and England have taken different routes for the first semifinal match on Wednesday in the ongoing World Twenty20 tournament.

While most teams struggled to understand the conditions here, New Zealand read them like a mind reader. Not once or twice, but in all their four league matches. Accordingly, they have made the changes and shown the fearlessness to go ahead with them. 

In contrast, England had to rough it out. They lost their opening game to West Indies and then had to sink in their teeth while chasing South Africa’s 230 to stay in the tournament. But England have hung on. The only fact that unites the two sides is that no one gave them much chance to make it to the semifinals. But, perhaps, such vagaries make T20 cricket worth a watch.

New Zealand
Strengths: Renowned for punching above their weights in major events. The top-order batsmen are in form, the spinners’ have flourished and the fielding has been excellent, giving them an all-round sharpness.

Weakness: The bad day in office! In the 2015 ODI World Cup, they won all matches before losing to Australia in the  final.

Key Players: Mitchell Santner: The left-arm spinner caught everyone’s attention by troubling India in the opening match and can be a big threat to the English batsmen.

Strengths: Ability to play fearless cricket. Against South Africa, they successfully chased a formidable 230-run target and since then have tackled nervy moments with courage.

Weakness: Barring all-rounder Ben Stokes, the bowling line-up doesn’t inspire much confidence. Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Reece Topley, David Willey and Moeen Ali have all been struggling for consistency.

Key players: Joe Root: England’s dying campaign was brought alive by Root’s brilliant 83 against South Africa. The right-handed batsman is dependable in crunch situations and is the key man in the batting unit.