In the style of those hideous blindingly obvious ‘Winning Objectives’ that World Cup broadcasters keep showing us, I thought i’d try and offer a few more useful pointers as to where success lies for England tonight.
Firstly, and most obviously, they have to arrest their terrible decline in death bowling. Clueless would be the kind way to describe their final 10-over effort against Australia last week. They simply have to find a way to limit the opposition’s batsmen in the final stages of the innings. New Zealand have the lower order power to absolutely annihilate England in the final 10 overs, and in Corey Anderson they possess one of the most feared boundary hitter in world cricket.
England also need to find away to coax a performance form Moeen Ali (not least because he’s my fantasy team power player for tonight). With no 50’s in his last 10 innings and only one score in excess of 40, the time is coming when Ali’s performances are going to begin to be scrutinised. His bowling has been consistent during the tri-series and World Cup opener, but he has never picked up more than 2 wickets in an innings, and is a holding bowler at best. England need him to come to the fore with the bat, and to also provide some penetration with the ball, if they are to challenge the Kiwi’s.
Finally, England will need their pace quartet to sustain their discipline and hostility throughout the entire 50 overs. While the death bowling has rightly drawn the most scathing criticism, England’s inability to take wickets in the middle overs has also held them back. They made three early breakthroughs in the opening match, but failed to capitalise on their inroads as Aaron Finch took the game away from them. England must find a way to sustain the pressure throughout the innings if they are to to rein in New Zealand’s free scoring batting line-up