Match 41: ENG vs. NZ, Do or Die for England

Pre Match

There are various possible scenarios left in the game. Realistically though it is extremely simple. If England win then they will qualify if they do not then they will have to hope that Bangladesh will have to win against Pakistan. I will be bold and say that New Zealand will qualify no matter how the dice fall. I am an open-minded analyst and love looking at non-traditional ways of looking at performance. I have written about this in my post about a Valentine Index. In line with this, I looked up astrological predictions about the game. Interestingly I found more or less an equal number of people who predict England winning as those that predict New Zealand winning. I discounted those people who predicted that New Zealand would win the toss as well as those who did not provide enough information on why they chose a particular team to win. Nearly all of them predicted a close game with people saying that it will come down to the last over. I found the fantasy XI that people have put up to be fascinating too. There is absolutely no consensus in terms of who people think will win with most players preparing a 6-5 distribution. There are some who were brave enough to go with a 7-4 to England. The common theme though is that it will down to New Zealand’s bowlers and Kane Williamson vs. England’s batsmen.

Kane Williamson is probably one of the most underrated cricketers in the game. New Zealand’s success or failure will be tied extremely closely to the way he bats but how he captains the side too. The main theme of my last post on the match between England and India was Anthems. I wrote that England would win based on the way they sang their National Anthem. The New Zealand Anthem is absolutely beautiful and calming but England seemed to be the more relaxed side. I think New Zealand will be more cautious in this game and unfortunately, that may just be their downfall. I am actually happy about the way the games have gone. If England wins this game then it would have taken them their full nine games to qualify. If they don’t then it will take 43 out of 45 games before we know the final four. I am looking forward to writing the mid-innings review.

Mid Innings Analysis

Image courtesy of CricViz

305/8 is a score England would be disappointed with even though it possibly is a good score. At the start of the game, I gave England a 65% chance of winning the game. At the end of the game, CricViz has given a 62% chance to win. At the mid-innings break; Zaheer Khan has given England a 60% chance of winning. Joy Bhattacharjya has given England a 70% chance to win. Zaheer Khan gave New Zealand the edge at the start of the game. One of the scenarios published at Cricbuzz assumes that England will score 300 and win while getting close to England’s score by 212 runs. Williamson captained the team beautifully in the second half. It can be argued though that New Zealand should have started bowling the slower balls earlier. New Zealand victory rests in the hands of Williamson and possibly Neesham if the top order fails. Adil Rashid may play an important role. Plunkett will be dangerous. The main role of the opening bowlers will be to contain the batsmen. Any wickets that may fall will be a bonus. I am not bringing out the champagne as yet but I have ensured that is kept refrigerated. Though a Pimm’s or a good Gin Tonic will be more appropriate.

Post Match Analysis

England has joined Australia and India in the semifinals. England did not know whether they would qualify before the game. Now they are the only team that knows where they will be playing. Eoin Morgan stated in his interview that he does not prefer Australia or England but both will be very difficult. Edgbaston will essentially be a home game for India. Australia has probably got their balance right. It is highly unlikely that either Australia or India will lose their remaining games. This would mean that in all probability Australia will play New Zealand as they have all but qualified. Pakistan will be out of the tournament even before a ball is bowled if Bangladesh bats first but if Pakistan bats first then they have to beat Bangladesh by a humongous margin. I wish I was brave enough to rule out Pakistan but stranger things have happened. Parallels have been drawn between the 1992 tournament and this one. On paper, it looks like a coincidence but I am not a person who believes in coincidences. I am glad that I can relax over the next few days. In the meantime, I think I am going to enjoy a nice bottle of Brewdog and save the champagne for another day.

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