Feb 28, Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui

England are 3rd in the ICC ODI rankings, New Zealand 4th and both sides are in great for in the format. On an otherwise disappointing tour England beat Australia 4-1 either side of the New Year whilst in their recent home series New Zealand beat the West Indies 3-0 and Pakistan 5-0 in ODIs

England are a dangerous ODI side, playing a much more aggressive brand of cricket after their debacle in the 2015 world cup. They bat very deep with a number of all rounders lengthening the order and with the one exception of a match winning spinner have talented bowlers with a range of options and despite their tribulations in other formats go well in ODIs. Unlike T20 they aren’t hampered by a lack of specialists and Unlike Test cricket if on flat pitches, they can overcome the lack of match winning bowling depth.

New Zealand though are also a fine team able to play in a variety of manners. Guptill and Munro can blast at the top of the order if need be while Williamson and Taylor can accumulate in the middle order. Southee and Boult are experienced quick bowlers and in Mitchell Santner they have one of the fastest developing spinners in the limited overs game

I expect this to be a be very closely fought series between well matched sides, 3-2 either way is my expected result. What may tip the balance in New Zealand’s favour is the punishing schedule England have been on since October with a lot of matches and travel.

New Zealand have only lost two of 10 bilateral ODI series at home and in the first game at Hamilton won a close game,chasing 284 to win by 3 wickets recovering from the loss of early wickets thanks to 113 and 79 from Taylor and Latham respectively, before Santner’s late contribution got the hosts over the line

For this game, at a comparatively little used venue I wanted to look at Kane Wlliamson who will be batting at three for New Zealand and they will look to base an innings around him

Williamson, one of nthe best batsmen in all formats of World Cricket, has made his orthodoxy work and is capable of scoring at a brisk tempo – he has a T20 hundred for Northern Knights and became the quickest New Zealand batsman, and fifth overall, to 3000 ODI runs. For a measure of his consistency, he has two streaks of five or more successive fifty-plus scores in ODIs in 20 months since 2014.

Overall he has 5000 ODI runs at an average of 46 with ten hundreds and 33 fifties and is
3-1 generally to be top New Zealand scorer here