England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided to bat first at Chester-le-Street against New Zealand, a virtual quarter-final.
England named an unchanged side. But New Zealand were without key fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, due to a hamstring niggle, and Ish Sodhi. Tim Southee and Matt Henry were included.
Wednesday’s crucial World Cup fixture between England and New Zealand is virtually a quarterfinal clash. The two come into the game following contrasting results. While England defeated India in its last fixture, New Zealand suffered back-to-back losses to Pakistan and Australia.
After a bright start, England found itself in a fix as it lost to Sri Lanka and Australia. But the win against India has again boosted the host’s confidence. Both still have a mathematical chance of making it to the last-four even if they lose on Wednesday.
On paper, the host looks a sorted unit, bolstered by the return of Jason Roy.
Against a tough New Zealand side, England needs to play with intensity. While the focus will be on the openers, the middle-order needs to be steady at a time when it matters the most.
For New Zealand, it will be important to fix the opening woes. So far, the seasoned Martin Guptill has looked off-colour, adding pressure on captain Kane Williamson and the middle-order.
As far as the bowling units are concerned, both teams look well-balanced.
While it could be partially cloudy, there is no prediction of rain on match day.