England v New Zealand in the latter stages of a world cup…we’ve been here before, haven’t we?

Eoin Morgan faces off against his good friend Kane Williamson once again in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday with both sides looking to secure their place in the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final.

The victor will have to wait until Thursday to find out whether it’s Pakistan or Australia waiting for them on Sunday but it’s New Zealand that remain our focus for the time being and in our latest opposition fact file, we break down what they’re all about…

Hopes of capping off a golden year

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There’s a strong argument to be made that this is a golden era in New Zealand cricket and lifting the T20 World Cup on Sunday would make this surely the greatest year in the country’s cricketing history.

Williamson’s side won the inaugural World Test Championship back in June and will be hoping to end their long wait for triumph in a major white-ball tournament later this week.

They reached the 50-over final in 2019 and the T20 semi-final in 2016 but came unstuck against England on both occasions and it’s Morgan’s side that stand in their way once again.

How have they fared so far? 

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New Zealand finished the Super 12s stage in second place in Group 2, having won four of their five matches.

Their only loss came in their opener against Pakistan, who beat them by five wickets and with eight balls remaining.

Williamson’s side bounced back to beat India fairly comprehensively and then survived a little scare to beat Scotland by 16 runs.

They eased past Namibia, winning by 52 runs, before beating Afghanistan by eight wickets and with 11 balls remaining in their final Group 2 clash on Sunday.

Who are the players to look out for?

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England fans will recognise the evergreen Martin Guptill at the top of the order but his partner Daryl Mitchell is also someone that can do some damage.

Williamson, who bats at three, and number four Devon Conway have both scored runs against the Three Lions in the past while Glenn Phillips can be a destructive player lower down the order and Jimmy Neesham hits a long ball.

There are familiar faces in the bowling department as well. Trent Boult is their leading wicket-taker in the tournament so far with 11 and is backed up by Tim Southee, who has nine, and Adam Milne, who impressed for Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred.

Both left-arm spinner Mitchel Santner and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi are bowlers that Williamson trusts but the latter has proven a key threat in the tournament – taking eight wickets at an average of 15.25.

Prediction 

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England had too much for New Zealand in the warmup matches and it’s hard to see things going differently in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Losing both Tymal Mills and Jason Roy is clearly a blow but you have to back the depth of Morgan’s squad.

This is now the business end of the tournament and we’re backing England to get theirs done on Wednesday.

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