New Zealand face a do-or-die battle when they take on England in the fourth ODI at Dunedin on March 7, Wednesday. New Zealand trail England 1-2 in the five-match ODI series. Hence, they must win the fourth ODI to take the series into the final ODI. After winning the first ODI, New Zealand have suffered two consecutive losses and must avoid a third to keep the series alive. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of the fourth ODI between New Zealand and England.
New Zealand strengths:
Kane Williamson and Co: New Zealand have one of the best batting line-ups in ODI cricket at the moment. They are blessed with Kane Williamson as skipper who failed to get New Zealand across the finish line in the third ODI by just four runs. They have Martin Guptill, Colin Munro as openers and the two would come hard at England in the fourth ODI. They also have Ross Taylor, Tom Latham in the middle-order and they must fire in all cylinders to help New Zealand level the five-match ODI series.
New Zealand weaknesses:
Batting has let down: In the last encounter, New Zealand fell short by 4 runs as Williamson waged a lone battle. The openers and the middle-order need to take more responsibility if New Zealand have any hopes of levelling the series. Their tailender has done well with Mitchell Santner contribution with three scores of 40 and above in the last three ODIs.
England spinners: Not much credit is given to England spinners. But it is the spin pair of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali that helped England restrict New Zealand in the last two ODIs. The spinners took 7 wickets in last two ODIs, conceding less than 40 runs in their full quota of 10 overs. And that has made the difference in the end results.
An all-round depth with presence of Stokes: With the return of all-rounder Ben Stokes, England look extremely competitive in all quarters. Stokes provides the balance in both batting and bowling departments, winning the second ODI for England. Hence, Stokes will continue to be an X-factor for England in the fourth ODI.
Must read: The story of consistent 40s for Ben Stokes
Can crumble under pressure: It will take just one knock or good spell to rout England. And New Zealand have the bowlers and batsmen to deliver the knockout punch to England. England must be ruthless in their approach to wrap up the series in the fourth ODI itself.
Prediction: New Zealand will come hard at England to level the series. For them, pride is at stake. England would look to carry forward the winning momentum. Our vote goes to New Zealand in the fourth ODI.
Possible winner: New Zealand