England vs New Zealand T20 International preview

West Indies England The Oval Cricket

A changed England side will be looking to put the ghosts of Sunday behind them against the Kiwis at the Oval.

You may have thought the Kiwis had long gone by now, their 2-1 victory over England in the ODI series a distant memory, but you'd be wrong.

England play a mini two match T20 series against the New Zealanders and after Sunday's disheartening loss to India this could prove to be a great hangover cure. Whilst the tourists will most likely remain unchanged, England's side will be very different. Expect to see a few new faces at the Oval come kick off.

Players to watch

England

Eoin Morgan (Capt)

Many would argue Morgan is England's best T20 player after Kevin Pietersen. He captains the side in the absence of Broad. A good performance by him could put pressure on existing skipper Broad, who's initial appointment raised a few eyebrows. Morgan is a streetwise cricketer who reads the shorter format of the game well and more importantly keeps cool under pressure.

Opening pair- Michael Lumb / Alex Hales

International caps used to mean something. Alex Hales will play for England today as a practice match to get in form. The decision to pick him borders on ridiculous and lacks common sense. A fortnight ago his form got so bad Nottinghamshire dropped him to the 2nd XI. He got a duck and 8. Noticing that dropping him didn't work Nottinghamshire then played him in three YB40 games hoping a different format might induce some form. He scored 6, 0 and 7.

Stuart Broad will no doubt vehemently deny any suggestions that Hales being one of his best friends has anything to do with this decision. Some England fans probably won't buy that, the rest will be hoping he turns it around for England's sake. He'll have a familiar partner at the other end which might help. Michael Lumb has been in some brilliant form recently and should provide some fireworks up front for England if Hales fails once again.

Luke Wright

With the amount of T20s he plays across the world, Wright has cleverly placed himself in a position where he's an indispensable member of England's T20 squad.

Ravi Bopara

Bopara showed in the ICC Champions trophy that class is permanent. Whilst he'll be happy to be part of the limited overs set up with England, his form demands inclusion in the Test side. England selectors cannot ignore his bowling as an asset for too long. Expect some fireworks from him in this game.

New Zealand

Brendon McCullum (capt, wk)

England's bowling attack looks weaker than usual with Chris Woakes, Jade Dernbach and possible the inexperienced Boyd Rankin. If McCullum gets set, there could be some big hits and an even bigger Kiwi total.

Mitchell McClenaghan

A surprise package for the ICC Champions trophy. McClenaghan bowls with good pace and was accurate enough to take 11 wickets in that tournament. Hales and Lumb will be vulnerable earlier on if he gets it right. Lancastrians will be watching intently, the Kiwi has signed for the red rose county for the English domestic T20 competition.

Hamish Rutherford

Since joining Essex, Rutherford has had mixed fortunes, the biggest mishap being his involvement in that 20 all out debacle against Lancashire. However he did score 63 in his next game after that and for those who remember his blistering 171 against England he's mentally very tough. If he gets off to a good start, I expect the cover boundary to get an absolute pounding.

Verdict: New Zealand will start as favorites given England have a makeshift side with a few new faces. However they do have two of the best middle order T20 batsmen in the world in Morgan and Bopara, who could turn the tide England's way. 

images:  © nedrichards