Cricket Betting: England v New Zealand T20 Series
Can they bounce back after the disappointment of losing the Champions Trophy final or should we fade them with our sports picks?
Eoin Morgan was one of the main culprits as England blew a winning position in the Champions Trophy final on Sunday. Now he must lead a much-changed England side into the final element of their summer series against New Zealand, a pair of Twenty20 games at The Oval on Tuesday and Thursday evening.
England have picked an inexperienced squad for these games, resting all but one of their potential Ashes squad. There is a first call-up for Yorkshire’s exciting Zimbabwe-born left-hander Gary Ballance and, Morgan aside, the only players to remain from the Champions Trophy squad are Ravi Bopara - as culpable as Morgan himself in the England batting collapse on Sunday -. wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and James Tredwell.
Tredwell was perhaps the surprise of that campaign, filling in for Graeme Swann so capably that he was preferred to him for the final. Woakes didn’t play a game and Buttler’s wicketkeeping improvement was countered by a deterioration in his batting. Bopara, on the other hand, had a good tournament and he will be a key component of this inexperienced side. You can get 7/1 across the board on him being England’s top batsman and, although backing a middle order batsman is always risky in this shortened format, there is a good chance that England will bat him at three or four, giving him a better chance to make runs than the market seems to expect.
The big news, though, is that into the squad, albeit only for the second game, comes Kevin Pietersen. Out of the game since March with a knee injury, Pietersen recently confessed that he feared that the injury might end his career. However, he appears to be back to full form and fitness, warming up for his international return by hitting an unbeaten 177 for Surrey against Yorkshire at the weekend.
New Zealand, on the other hand, will be quietly confident. They have a good T20 side and have had an extra few days rest after failing to reach the knockout stages of the Champions Trophy. Captain Brendon McCullum will again be a key element for them, although his brutal hitting may be slightly tamed by the huge Oval outfield. Down the order, look out for Corey Anderson, who almost took them to a win over England in their rain-affected Champions Trophy encounter and who looks to be a fine prospect for the future.
A key factor will be whether England can counter the left arm swing bowling of Mitchell McClenaghan. He tormented every side that he came up against in the Champions Trophy and with the white ball almost certain to swing under the lights at the Oval he will be a major threat. He is currently 3/1 with ladbrokes to be New Zealand’s top bowler over the two games and on current form that looks to be a very generous price indeed.
Picking the winner of a two game series is always tricky and not usually a market I would recommend. However, with England having left out so many big guns and New Zealand at full strength, the 7/2 cricket odds price on offer from BetVictor looks too good to miss.