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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Martin Guptill poses big threat to England

Tourists must be positive against hard-hitting New Zealand

Colin Munro (left) and Martin Guptill are a formidable opening pair for New Zealand
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Trans-Tasman Tri-Series
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Australia chased down a record Twenty20 international target of 244 against New Zealand on Friday and that awesome Aussie effort kept alive England's hopes of reaching the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series final.

The prospect of another meeting with Australia may not be much of an incentive for New Zealand and England given the one-sided nature of the round-robin games.

Both England and the Kiwis have twice been soundly beaten by Australia but New Zealand are in a stronger position having won their first meeting with Jos Buttler's men by 12 runs in Wellington.

With Eoin Morgan still troubled by a groin injury, Buttler may have to deputise as captain again in Hamilton with England requiring a convincing victory to qualify for the final on net run-rate.

That is a difficult task, especially as New Zealand have won six of their seven 20-over matches at Seddon Park, and opener Martin Guptill's record at the venue is another cause for concern for England.

Guptill found himself in the unusual situation of scoring a Twenty20 century in a losing cause on Friday but his 105 from 54 deliveries was a superb exhibition of ball-striking.

It followed a 40-ball 65 in the win over England and his four Twenty20 appearances in Hamilton have yielded scores of 44, 47, 47 and, most recently, 87 not out against Pakistan.

Given that England will have to go on the offensive if they are to turn around their run-rate deficit, going over a total sixes line of 13.5 also appeals.

New Zealand's big hitters have certainly found their range after sharing 32 maximums in the record-breaking clash with Australia and the Kiwis hit 11 to England's eight when the teams met in Wellington.

Seddon Park has a decent pedigree when it comes to six-hitting. The last five Twenty20 internationals in Hamilton have featured maximums tallies of 12, 12, 22 (when South Africa's Richard Levi cleared the ropes 13 times), 21 and 18.

Guptill and his opening partner Colin Munro hit 15 sixes between them against Australia and Colin de Grandhomme and Ross Taylor are colossal hitters in the middle-order.

England's powerful batsmen haven't been at their best in the Tri-Series but this win-or-bust situation could inspire players such as Buttler, Jason Roy, Alex Hales and Dawid Malan to take more risks.

Ben Stokes has arrived in New Zealand after pleading not guilty to a charge of affray at Bristol Magistrates' Court. The all-rounder is available for selection for the one-day series against the Black Caps, which starts next weekend, but fast bowler Liam Plunkett has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Recommendations
M Guptill top New Zealand runscorer
1pt 3-1 general
Over 13.5 sixes
2pts 5-6 bet365


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Given that England will have to go on the offensive if they are to turn around their run-rate deficit, going over a total sixes line of 13.5 appeals
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