England begin their World Twenty20 campaign against dark horses New Zealand in Chittagong on Saturday. They are one of the few teams who have had serious T20 practice in the lead-up to the tournament, but the results of those games only underlined their struggle for form.
Date: Saturday, March 22
Start time: 1:30 p.m. GMT
Weather: There is some rain about in Chittagong on Friday and Sunday, but according to Accuweather, the forecast for Saturday is clear and sunny.
England's lead-up to the World T20 has been marred by comical losses and injury. Joe Root is out of the campaign with a broken thumb, Ben Stokes is out with a wrist broken when he punched a locker and captain Stuart Broad is touch-and-go for fitness as he battles a knee problem. Add to that a series loss against the West Indies, as well as losing both their warm-up games last week, and it looks like England might end up with nothing but a wooden spoon.
The Black Caps, meanwhile, have got a few match-winners in their midst and what they lack in the spin department, they make up for in batting prowess.
Under Brendon McCullum's guidance, New Zealand have the potential to be a real threat in the tournament and getting off to a winning start against England will be vital with just four games in the group stage.
England have the superior spinner in James Tredwell, but he has been expensive in his 11 T20s, with an average of 52.60 and a strike rate of a wicket every 40.6 balls. For New Zealand, those kinds of numbers are an open invitation for a batting assault. The Black Caps will back themselves to chase any total, especially considering England's death bowling ineptitude.
The two sides have met on 11 previous occasions and England have won seven of those, but things are different now and under the current circumstances, a win for Broad and Co. would be an upset.
Jos Buttler was one of the few delights of England's recent tour to the West Indies, and when it comes to getting those 30s and 40s that make the difference in the innings, he can do it. With almost all the other batsmen struggling for form, Buttler has a massive role to play. Will he get bumped up the order?
Ross Taylor has done this all before and he's done it in the subcontinent more times than he can count. A big innings from him will set New Zealand up well.
Chris Woakes, Ian Bell, Jos Buttler (wk), Luke Wright, Michael Lumb, Alex Hales, Ravi Bopara, Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad (c), Tim Bresnan, Jade Dernbach Chris Jordan, Stephen Parry, Eoin Morgan, James Tredwell
James Neesham, Corey Anderson, Kyle Mills, Anton Devcich, Ronnie Hira, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi (w/k), Ross Taylor, Trent Boult, Brendon McCullum (c), Kane Williamson, Tim Southee
Data and statistics via ESPNCricinfo
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