New Zealand host England at Wellington in the third and final match of the T20 International series between the countries and there is everything to play for, with the score tied at 1-1. The big-hitting of the Twenty-20 format will be followed by progressively longer variations of the game with One Day Internationals to follow and Test matches after that. However, for now, all the attention is on the match today.
England took the honours in the first match at Auckland, courtesy superb batting by Luke Wright (42 from 20 balls), Eoin Morgan (46 from 26 balls), Jonny Bairstow (38 from 22 balls) and Jos Buttler (32 from 16 balls). The visitors put on 214/7 in their 20 overs and led by Steven Finn's 3/39 and Stuart Broad's 4/24, New Zealand were restricted to 174/9.
The second match swung dramatically in the Kiwi's favour. Martin Guptill (42 from 31 balls), Hamish Rutherford (40 from 27 balls) and Brendon McCullum (74 from 38 balls) doing what they couldn't in the first match. New Zealand posted 192/6 in 20 overs and James Franklin's 4/15 from 3.3 overs meant England could muster only 137.
Where to Watch Live
The match starts at 6am GMT. Live coverage is on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD. Real time commentary is on Cricinfo.
England will be desperate to continue their impressive touring form. The Alastair Cook-led squad was considerably more than a match for MS Dhoni and India in the subcontinent and based on the form they displayed in the first T20I, they've brought that along Down Under. The second match was a complete reversal of form and fortune, suggesting that New Zealand will not go away without a fight, especially at home.
The problem is that when two sides exchange such contrasting results in quick succession, it makes the third game something of a lottery. The T20 format is already a bit of a hit-or-miss style of play and this will likely only make things more exciting.
The momentum must surely be with the Kiwis. They put a poor first match behind them and responded excellently at Hamilton, with McCullum proving just why he is one of the finest hitters of the ball in the modern game. The bowlers used the seaming conditions well and the fielders backed their efforts.
Pitch and Conditions
The word from Wellingtons suggests there may be a spot of rain but nothing to cause any alarm. Dew, however, could be a problem, meaning the captain winning the toss may consider batting second. The stadium here is known as the Cake Tin, meaning the boundaries, while not small, should allow for some big hitting.
History favours the side batting second (weather conditions aside) for all four T20Is at this ground have been won by the chasing side.
Last Five Head-To-Head
- 2013, Hamilton: New Zealand won by 55 runs
- 2013, Auckland: England won by 40 runs
- 2012 World T20, Pallekele: England won by six wickets
- 2010, World T20, St Lucia: England won by three wickets
- 2008, Manchester: England won by nine wickets
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Hamish Rutherford, Brendon McCullum (capt & wk), Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, Grant Elliott, James Franklin, Nathan McCullum, Ian Butler, Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan
England: Michael Lumb, Alex Hales, Luke Wright, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler (wk), Joe Root, Stuart Broad (capt), James Tredwell, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach