The fourth ODI of the series between New Zealand and England will be crucial for both sides. While England are in a must-win situation as a loss would render the final one-day meaningless, a victory would see New Zealand seal the series after having gone down 0-1, which would mean three wins in a row. Although the Kiwis have tasted triumphs in the last two matches, they will not go into the fourth ODI as firm favourites. Unlike in the World Cup, England have adopted an aggressive and positive approach in this series, and they seem to have finally woken up to the challenge of one-day cricket.
Match: England vs New Zealand 4th ODI at Nottingham
Time: Match begins at 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT | 6:30 PM IST)
England began the series with a spectacular batting display in the first ODI, crossing the 400 mark, and then backing it up with a highly competent bowling display. However, they haven’t been able to back up those performances in the last two matches. One can say that they were somewhat unlucky in the second game as rain interrupted their momentum, and the revised D/L score wasn’t exactly in their favour. Then, in the last game, they overdid their aggressive attitude, and lost five wickets for nothing.
New Zealand, on the other hand, have been fantastic with the bat in their last two outings. In fact, both sides have crossed 300 in the last two games, but the Kiwis have clearly outdone by Englishmen. After a lean spell, Ross Taylor has recovered to post splendid centuries in his last two visits to the crease. When Taylor is in form, the Kiwis automatically become that much more dangerous. Kane Williamson also hit a hundred in the last match, and together, they made a mockery of England’s challenging target. Williamson’s form is also a massive plus for New Zealand.
The Kiwi openers Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill have looked good, but they are yet to get a big score. Both will be keen to get among three figures, and that would only augment England’s woes. Having said that, they themselves should be pleased with the form of their batsmen. Jos Buttler and Joe Root kicked off the series with centuries, skipper Eoin Morgan has looked a different player, and Adil Rashid’s all-round abilities have also been impressive. Alex Hales has finally got a decent score in ODIs and, hopefully for England, Jason Ray would also join in the act.
Bowling is a major concern for both sides. If you take away the first match, England have leaked runs in the other two matches. David Willey and Mark Wood were impressive in the loss at Ageas Bowl and Steven Finn has come back well after the World Cup disaster, but the one-day game is a cruel game for bowlers. For New Zealand, Trent Boult has been ruled out, but Ben Wheeler ended up having a reasonable debut. They need more out of the experienced Tim Southee though, and Mitchell McClenaghan’s lack of effectiveness is a big cause of worry. Who bowls better might decide the fate of the series.
-- By A Cricket Analyst