England could hardly be starting their World T20 campaign in worse form, and on Saturday they will be tasked with keeping the format’s all-time top run scorer quiet when facing New Zealand in Chittagong.
Stuart Broad’s side have only won one of their last eight Twenty20 Internationals, losing to both the West Indies and India in warm-up matches this week. And with group games against Sri Lanka and South Africa to come, they really need to turn things around soon.
Good news for the side is that the skipper was able to bowl two overs – which went for 14 runs – in the final pre-tournament match. Broad had a painkilling injection in his knee last week and could start in the opening game tomorrow.
If he fails a fitness test then Eoin Morgan will continue to deputise as skipper. The Irish-born batsman top scored against the Windies in what was a thoroughly lacklustre batting performance.
England will need to address their problems at the crease if they are to stand any chance of recreating their 2010 heroics. The former champions are in for a tough assessment against New Zealand, although the Kiwis also lost both of their warm-ups this week.
The manner of their defeats was more respectable though: they conceded the game against Pakistan on the penultimate ball of the match, and lost to Australia by just three runs.
Brendon McCullum has been in good nick, scoring 59* and 37 respectively. The captain is approaching 2000 runs on the world stage in the shortest format of the sport, and could surpass that milestone against the English this weekend.
Taking the early wickets of Martin Guptill and McCullum will be key to an England win – a full return for Broad would greatly aid the cause of his side.
Spinner James Tredwell was very economical against India, and his overs could be key in stemming the flow of the New Zealand innings. Conversely, Tim Bresnan, Jade Dernbach and Chris Jordan were all rather costly on Wednesday – as such, the seam department will all need to improve for the tournament proper.
There will be little room for error in the newly created Super 10 stage, which means that England can’t really afford to drop points in their opening game if they harbour ambitions of becoming the first repeat winners of the World T20.
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