Cardiff: New Zealand will look to revive their Champions Trophy campaign by beating England in Cardiff on Tuesday after a frustrating start to the one-day international tournament.
Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, lived up to his billing as one of the world’s best batsmen with a superb hundred in their Group A opener against Australia at Edgbaston on Friday.
A late collapse meant New Zealand’s total of 291 was less than it might have been but, even so, Australia had slumped to 53 for three before rain ended the match before the 20 overs required in the second innings to constitute a result had been bowled.
The upshot was that Australia and New Zealand received just a point apiece, while England took two after defeating Bangladesh by eight wickets in their opener at the Oval.
Tuesday’s match is now all the more important to New Zealand’s bid to get out of the four-strong group and reach the semi-finals of a tournament featuring the world’s top eight ODI teams.
But New Zealand opener Martin Guptill said the side would draw strength from their showing against Australia — the team that beat them in the 2015 World Cup final.
“Absolutely,” Guptill told reporters in Cardiff on Monday.
“We did some very good things in that last game, and it was unfortunate the rain came when it did.”
New Zealand’s aggressive approach to white-ball cricket has had a huge influence on England.
Guptill was involved when New Zealand hammered England by eight wickets in a World Cup group match two years ago.
But he said Eoin Morgan’s men were now a much improved one-day outfit.
“It’s very much a new-look England side over the last couple of years, and it’s worked very well for them,” said Guptill.
“We play our way, and they play their way, which is a similar brand, and it works for both teams.”
– ‘Master-class’ –
Heavy rain in Cardiff on Monday left New Zealand contemplating the prospect of another washout but Guptill said: “We can’t control the weather. We’ve just got to deal with it.”
He added: “We can’t let that dictate the way we play. We still have to go out and do our things to be aggressive and take it to the opposition.
“If we take a step back, then we’ve already lost the game before stepping out there.”
Tuesday’s match features two of cricket’s brightest batting talents in Williamson and England’s Joe Root
Just as Williamson made a hundred against Australia, so too did Root against Bangladesh.
“They can both be destructive without hitting those massively big shots — they kill teams softly,” said Guptill. “They know the game inside and out, and their own games.
“They know where there are areas to hit, where they can to certain bowlers. So it’s a master-class when they get going.
“If either one gets in, you know it could be a long day for whoever is in the field.”
Tuesday’s fixture takes place amid heightened concerns over security following recent terror attacks in Manchester and London.
But Guptill said the Blackcaps were re-assured by the International Cricket Council’s arrangements to protect teams.
“The ICC have assured us that our safety is their number one priority, and they keep giving us updates daily about what’s happening and what their plans are for us,” Guptill explained.
“So we feel very safe at the moment.
“On behalf of the Black Caps, I’d like to let people know our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families through this tough time.”