England go into this series with a good recent record against New Zealand. The tri-series showed the dominance England have over a good side in New Zealand.
You have to go back to 2015 to find the last time that England were beaten in an ODI by New Zealand. England of late have a habit of losing their first game of a series.
As usual much will rely on a number of familiar names. Tammy Beaumont is in a rich vein of form and has been England’s most consistent performer for the last twelve months. She will be backed up by the likes of Nat Sciver, Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor. Knight will be crucial with her captaincy and Taylor is currently one of the best wicketkeepers about.
Where Danni Wyatt bats could be key. As an opener, she is able to put the bowlers on the back foot and that brings in players like Sciver who can send the ball to all parts of the ground.
When it comes to the bowling, the opening pair of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole will be tasked with keeping the world’s most explosive partnership (Bates and Devine) under wraps. If they can find a place for Katie George England have a genuinely exciting pace attack.
The undoubted strength for England is it’s batting. They have the ability to not only set totals but chase them down. With the likes of Beaumont in great form don’t be surprised if England post some big totals in this series. They will think New Zealand will be a bowler light and exploit that.
That isn’t to say the bowling falls below standards, George is an emerging talent and will complement the more senior bowlers. England are blessed to have a rotation of spinners, Alex Hartley comes into the squad at the expense of Danielle Hazell.
There aren’t many weaknesses to speak of. One of the real problems England have is getting off to slow starts in series. The fact that England have played a lot of cricket against South Africa and New Zealand in the last month means that may be negated.
There are occasions where sides decide to see off Brunt and Shrubsole and England don’t always take early wickets.
It could also be said that England tend to have an attacking game plan means they can come unstuck if they lose early wickets.
England’s results have been mixed since the World Cup last year. They drew the Ashes series over the three formats. A weakened side then lost out in India before beating South Africa 2-1 in the ODI series. They then won the tri-series that followed, beating New Zealand along the way.
England will feel they have an advantage over New Zealand having beaten them recently in the tri-series. They have the players to dominate and keep New Zealand’s big hitters quite. It will be a real shoot-out in those terms.
With World Cup qualifying points on offer, the cricket will be competitive and well worth tuning in to.
Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Amy Jones, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Nat Sciver, Sarah Taylor, Lauren Winfield, Danni Wyatt, Katie George.