Ross Taylor’s stunning 181 not out in Dunedin helped New Zealand beat England by five wickets and level the one-day series at 2-2 with a game remaining. The final ODI takes place in Christchurch on Friday at 22:00 GMT.
England are 3rd in the ICC ODI rankings, New Zealand 4th and both sides are in great form 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 missing 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 expected this to be a very closely fought series between well matched sides, 3-2 either way is my expected result and this will be the outcome.
Ross Taylor’s stunning 181 not out helped New Zealand beat England by five wickets and level the one-day series at 2-2 with a game remaining.
Jonny Bairstow’s 138 and Joe Root’s 102 helped England post 335-9, despite a collapse of 21-6 in Dunedin, a middle overs setback that was to prevent them reaching 400 and leave New Zealand a chaseable score. Their big hitters fell quickly, giving themselves no time to settle in. Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes were caught attempting big shots, Buttler was caught and bowled by Sodhi and the slow bowler’s flight deceived Moeen as he returned figures of 4-58
Ross Taylor then played superbly to guide the hosts through the chase. With three runs needed from the final over, Henry Nicholls struck a six to secure an impressive win.
Just 16 months ago, Taylor was struggling to see the way the ball moved, and underwent surgery to remove a small growth from his left eye in January 2017. Since then, he has averaged 65.50 in one-day cricket, with four centuries and nine half-centuries to his name.
Victory in this match that begins early Saturday our time would give England their fifth successive ODI series success as they build towards the 2019 World Cup on home soil and it should be another close affair.
For this final match New Zealand are once again underdogs, 11/10 v 10/11. Despite the likely absence through injury of Taylor, for two such closely matched sides they are the value in the marketplace.