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In-form England will look to continue their winning stretch when they face New Zealand at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Tuesday. The hosts started their campaign with a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Bangladesh, with their fiery batting-order proving to be effective early on in the tournament.
Chris Woakes will not be in contention for selection in the Champions Trophy after picking up a side strain against Bangladesh. Steve Finn has replaced him in the squad and is likely to come into the side for rest of the matches. England will be focusing on their bowling after Woakes injury and Jake Ball not delivering with the ball as expected. Ball was smashed for 82 runs in his 10-over spell against Bangladesh, as a result he might get dropped against the Kiwis with David Willey getting a chance.
A lot will be depended on Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood as they hold the key for England’s pace attack. Plunkett was the most impressive of all, taking four wickets in the last match in his 10 overs. The young and talented leg spinner Adil Rashid is most likely to make his first appearance in the tournament replacing Moeen Ali.
England’s destructive batting poses a big threat for the opposition. The depth in their batting and the ability to hit huge sixes at any stage of the game, makes them a very balanced side and gives them an added advantage against New Zealand. Jason Roy was the only player to get dismissed in single digits against Bangladesh but an extraordinary batting display by Alex Hales and Joe Root set the tone beautifully for England and showed how devastating they can be, on their given day.
Captain Eoin Morgan’s blistering form with the bat continued in the last match. And with the likes off Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, England have a great chance to seal their second match and make a spot in the semifinals of the Champions Trophy.
New Zealand on the other hand will be heading with a lot of confidence after performing exceptionally well against Australia in their first match. New Zealand scored a challenging 291 after Luke Ronchi and Kane Williamson show at Edgbaston. A magnificent century by Ronchi and crucial 72 runs by the captain put Australia in pressure. New Zealand batting line-up including Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, is full of power-hitters who can easily turn the match around and with the struggling England bowling, we can see another run-feast on Tuesday.
But, New Zealand will also be hoping to get more out of their middle order after the late collapse they had against the Kangaroos. They might go with Tom Latham in the next match. The New Zealand bowling also seemed to be impressive as they dismantled the Australian top-order at 57/3 before the rain-gods played spoilsport forcing both teams to share points.
New Zealand pace attack — Tim Southee, Adam Milne and Trent Boult will benefit a lot on this pitch as the conditions are expected to suit swing bowling. Also it won’t be surprising if the kiwis go with Colin De Grandhomme in the next match, watching the pitch conditions. A win will put New Zealand in the driving seat for qualification to the semifinals.