England face World Cup reckoning against New Zealand

England and New Zealand head into their final World Cup group match on Wednesday, each knowing a win will see them into the semi-finals.

Even a defeat would not spell the end of either team’s chances of emerging as one of the top four from the 10-team round-robin phase.

If England lose in Chester-le-Street, Pakistan could leapfrog them into the top four with victory over Bangladesh, whose own semi-final hopes ended with a defeat by India on Tuesday that sent Virat Kohli’s men through.

It would take an unlikely turn of events to deny New Zealand a place in the last four, such is their net run-rate advantage over Pakistan.

But right now, England and New Zealand’s World Cup destiny is in their own hands.

England have arrived in the northeast buoyed by a 31-run win over an India side that were previously unbeaten.

Sunday’s success came after back-to-back defeats by Sri Lanka and reigning champions Australia had led many pundits to question their tournament nerve and nous.

But the pleasing aspect for England, other than the result, was that the defeat of India was built on many of the factors that have been key to their one-day international revival since a first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

England bounce back

Openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy seized the match by the scruff of the neck, Ben Stokes chipped in with a third consecutive fifty and England kept it tight in the field.

“I think two defeats in a row [sharpens a team],” said England captain Eoin Morgan. “It was clear after the Australia game that there was a huge amount of disappointment in the changing room.

“The fact that we’ve been able to turn that around, identify where we are at and identify what we need to do in order to progress to the semis made things clearer about how we want to continue to play, which hasn’t changed.”

Wednesday’s match represents a chance for England to show just how much they have improved since a crushing defeat by New Zealand in their last World Cup clash.

England were skittled for just 123 by New Zealand in a group match at Wellington four years ago — a total the Black Caps overhauled in a mere 12.2 overs en route to an eventual defeat by co-hosts Australia in the final.

“It was as close to rock-bottom as I’ve been,” Morgan said. “Certainly as a captain and as a player, being beaten off the park like that was humiliating.”

New Zealand, however, have yet to hit similar heights at this year’s tournament and head into the match following successive losses to Pakistan and Australia that have taken the gloss off a promising campaign.

An attack led by left-arm quick Trent Boult, who took a hat-trick against Australia, and featuring the express pace of Lockie Ferguson is a testing proposition for any side.

But they have been dangerously over-reliant on captain Kane Williamson and fellow senior batsman Ross Taylor for runs, with Martin Guptill, the leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup, struggling badly.

“I’d love as a team to take a little bit of pressure off Kane and score some runs and not let him do everything,” said Taylor.

“We definitely haven’t got the momentum that we would have liked in the last couple of games, but tomorrow is a different story against different opposition.”

© Agence France-Presse

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Julian Guyer
Guest Author
Advertisting

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world