Wellington: With the series now leveled 1-1, England and New Zealand would like to win the third Twenty20 at Wespac Stadium in Wellington on Friday to seal the series.
The visitors started the three-match series with a convincing 40-run win in Auckland, but in the second New Zealand bounced back with a 55-run victory to level the series in Hamilton. New Zealand led by skipper Brendon Mccullum's 38-ball 74 defused England's bowling attack and helped his team post 192 for 6 before skittling the visitors for 137.
Going into the match, England appear to have the upper hand considering their batting packed with some exciting talents like Luke Wright, Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow. In the first T20, openers Michael Lumb and Alex Hales gave England a decent start and would be expected to better that.
The middle-order would revolve around Wright, Morgan and Jos Butler who seems to be in great touch with scores of 32 and 54 in both matches respectively. Maybe promoting Butler up the order won't be a bad idea.
On the bowling front also England look formidable led by Steven Finn and Stuart Broad. Both of them starred in England's first win with Broad picking up four and Finn three wickets. But in Hamilton they went wicketless and in the decider England can't afford the duo to misfire.
However, Finn is not too worried about his inconsistent bowling form and said, "It's not something that can preoccupy my mind in the game, but every day in training, I'm working hard on trying to eradicate it."
"It's improving every day, and when we get out there in the game it's not happening as frequently as it used to. I feel as though I've been in good rhythm since I've been over here in New Zealand," he said.
New Zealand haven't done bad either in both the outings with their top-three batsmen in red hot form, especially Martin Guptill. He got the scores of 44 and 47 to give New Zealand a brisk start. But what turned the tide for New Zealand was McCullum's fluent knock of 74 and would like the momentum going in the big match.
The concern would be the form of Ross Taylor and the other batsmen in the middle-order who haven't done significant enough with their contribution. Taylor, Colin Munro and James Franklin bouncing back to form will make the Kiwis favourites.
New Zealand's bowling is touch weaker compared to their opposition, but Trent Boult, MJ McClenaghan have pace to hurry the England batsmen with the new ball. They should also ponder bringing on Franklin first change to keep the pressure on instead throwing the ball to a spinner.
The young fast bowler Ian Butler, who took two wickets in the last match might retain his place and that leaves Nathan McCullum as the only spinner.
New Zealand: 1 Martin Guptill, 2 HD Rutherford, 3 Brendon McCullum, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Colin Munro, 6 Grant Elliott, 7 James Franklin, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Ian Butler, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan
England: 1 Michael Lumb, 2 Alex Hales, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Jos Butler, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 James Tredwell, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach.