A week ago, England’s campaign was on the ropes, with back-to-back defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia, while New Zealand were on the top of the table, looking to be the first team to secure a semi-final spot.
A week later, England have found their mojo back, with a win over India, although under questionable circumstances, and New Zealand appear to be cracking with back-to-back defeats against Pakistan and Australia.
These two teams meet at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday and the winner will be sure to get a guaranteed spot in the semi.
They both could go through if Bangladesh, who have just been eliminated by India, were to beat Pakistan in their last game, knocking them out in the process.
For England, Jason Roy’s return from injury has immediately bolstered and reinforced the batting line-up along with a century from under-fire Jonny Bairstow.
Joe Root has been good at the beginning of the tournament but his recent form hasn’t been his best.
Eoin Morgan has looked in good touch when he’s been hitting sixes, but even the captain has looked weak against some of the best bowling attacks.
Ben Stokes has been England’s real MVP with the bat, scoring consistently and especially when the team has been under pressure, something that cannot always be associated with the other English batsmen.
The bowlers have also been doing well, especially Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett.
But the swing and variation of Chris Woakes has also proved invaluable in recent games.
The spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have been expensive at times, but they have managed to get breakthroughs when needed.
England seem to have the more balanced and stronger side, but New Zealand’s team have had their main players delivering when needed.
Captain Kane Williamson has been at his serene best with the bat while he has found support from the big-hitting Colin de Grandhomme and James Neesham has also recently gotten runs.
But players like Tom Latham, Colin Munro and Martin Guptill have not been having the best of tournaments, and with options limited, they will have to pull up their weight.
The bowling though has been much more impressive, with Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson doing damage.
Mitchell Santner, although not always amongst the wickets has been a threat for the opposition batsmen.
Matt Henry, Neesham and de Grandhomme have also managed to keep things economical although they don’t have the same bowling threat as their express-pace teammates.
Although England appear to be favourites, this is a team they have not defeated since the World Cup in 1992 and New Zealand will not go down easily.
England should go with the same team that defeated India in their last match and maintain that winning combination.
England’s Probable XI: 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Chris Woakes, 8 Liam Plunkett, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Mark Wood
New Zealand have tried Henry Nicholls in their last match to open in place of Munro, who has been short of runs. Although Nicholls didn’t score many, he should be getting another chance. On the other hand, leg-spinner Ish Sodhi could be getting another chance.
New Zealand’s Probable XI: 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Henry Nicholls, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 James Neesham, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee/Matt Henry/Ish Sodhi, 10 Lockie Ferguson, 11 Trent Boult
Pitch and Weather
The weather is expected to be sunny and with no chance of rain while the pitch is expected to have plenty of runs in it.
One would expect the team to win the toss first and pile up a 300-plus total - something that has proven to be a very safe score given that it’s just been chased one time this tournament.