England's Eoin Morgan and Adil Rashid
England's Eoin Morgan and Adil Rashid during nets at the Riverside Durham, Chester-le-Street. Image Credit: Reuters

Birmingham: The 2015 World Cup runners-up New Zealand will take on England at The Riverside Durham in Chester-le-Street on Wednesday. England, riding on the confidence gained from their victory over India, will be aiming to beat the Kiwis and march towards a semi-final slot. New Zealand, on the other hand, will badly want a win to secure a place in the final four. But the Kiwis are aware that beating the hosts will not be easy.

England’s win over India is likely to get them back into the mode they were before the World Cup that had taken them to the No. 1 ranking. A series of defeats have hurt them, hence they will want to down New Zealand and prove that they are still the best, after reclaiming the No. 1 ranking.

England skipper Eoin Morgan also knows that New Zealand are not an easy team to beat. His captaincy and field placing against the Indians were brilliant, and that is what put pressure on the Indians. New Zealand, after being unbeaten for the first six matches, crashed to back-to-back defeats to Pakistan and Australia, and are now under pressure.

Would Morgan go with the same team that beat India? Without giving away anything, he said, “I haven’t seen the wicket yet. So our selection decision and the balance of the side will be down to the wicket and what we think could be most effective against the New Zealand batting line-up.”

But what he did reveal was that in-form opener Jason Roy will play.

The England skipper will not consider it helpful in any way that the Kiwis lost their last two games. “We haven’t necessarily looked at it like that. For us what is most satisfying from the last game is that we went out and played our brand of cricket. We were allowed to do that right at the start, the way the two guys played.”

On the other hand, New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor had a tough time defending his team’s poor show after a good start. “I think there were some close matches earlier as well, but we were happy to get the right result. As for the game against Australia, it was a little bit closer than it probably looked. We had them under pressure at the start there, but it was quite a tough wicket at Lord’s. So definitely we still haven’t got the momentum that we would have liked in the last couple of games. Tomorrow is a different story against different opposition.”

But he did remark that the experience of playing England many times will come useful, and he hopes the wicket conditions are different from what they had experienced in the last two matches.

Does he consider his skipper Kane Williamson as too timid and cautious when compared with Brendon McCullum? “I’ve played under many different captains. Brendon was the extreme and Kane has his own unique style as well. At the end of the day, you have to be true to yourself and be authentic and more often than not you get the right result. Kane is a fantastic world-class batsman and a world-class captain. You don’t have to look far, just the last couple of matches will tell you that. Just because we lose a couple of games doesn’t mean he is a bad captain. He is still a great captain, leads from the front, and the team respects him; I love playing under him. Actually, as a team, I’d love to take a little bit of pressure off him and score some runs and not put it on him to do everything. So, as for Kane, he is a great captain to play under and, hopefully, he continues that good toss record that he’s had over the last little while as well.”