New Zealand and England will leave no stone unturned when they play the series decider in the fifth ODI at Christchurch on Saturday. The five-match ODI series is currently levelled 2-2 as Ross Taylor slammed a brilliant ton in the fourth ODI to take the series into the fifth match. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of New Zealand vs England fifth ODI.
New Zealand strengths:
Depth in batting: Ross Taylor single-handedly won the match for New Zealand in the fourth ODI, slamming an unbeaten 181* to chase down 336. If Taylor is fit to play the fifth ODI, New Zealand will start favourites to win the fifth ODI, which is a virtual final now. Besides, New Zealand have Kane Williamson who has led from the front in the ongoing ODI series. New Zealand bounced back from 2/2 to chase down a big score in the fourth ODI, thanks to Taylor and Williamson. It highlights New Zealand’s depth in batting as it can rattle any opposition on their day.
New Zealand weaknesses:
Opener’s poor form: Martin Guptill and Colin Munro are yet to fire big in the series and their runs with the bat will be crucial for New Zealand success in the decider on Saturday. Munro-Guptill are one of the best opening pairs around and their continuous failure has put pressure on the middle-order. New Zealand need to fire on all cylinders to win the ODI series.
Excellent limited-overs players: In the fourth ODI, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root slammed tons, but it went in vain as Taylor overshadowed everyone. But England are a good competitive team and they would come hard at New Zealand. They have an all-round depth in all departments. They have quality limited-overs batsmen with Eoin Morgan at the helm. With Ben Stokes in the squad, England would be hoping the all-rounder comes good in the series decider.
Inconsistent bowling: England have been inconsistent with their bowling resources. In the third ODI, they eked out a win by four runs and in the fourth ODI, they failed to defend 335. The spinners – Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali – have done well so far, but they too have been inconsistent. England need to put up a team effort to win the ODI series.
Prediction: New Zealand would be favourite to win the series decider after their brilliant chase in the last ODI. Ross Taylor will be key again and New Zealand would be hoping he is fit to play. England too have a good chance but our vote goes to New Zealand for raising their game in key matches.
Possible winner: New Zealand