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England-New Zealand Lock Horns In a Much Awaited Encounter, In a Post COVID-19 Scenario

After a year of hiatus, where despite the pandemic situation cricket was organized sporadically, it is returning to its natural glory. Series and Domestic cricket had been organized, maintaining the strict protocol, all over the globe. International Women’s Cricket returned to its frame with the series against Germany and Austria, followed by a couple of T20I series between England and West Indies and the Rose Bowl. Though the 2021 World Cup has been postponed for a year, countries like Australia and New Zealand went forward with their domestic fixture – WBBL and Super Smash, where India had organized a curtailed Women’s T20 Challenge in UAE.  

New Zealand, the country least affected by the COVID-19 due to their strict protocols is going to host England for a three-match ODI series, followed by the t-20 series. England did a camp in the picturesque Queenstown, after the mandatory quarantine period, playing two practise matches against the NZ-XI before the series. Though they won the first game comprehensively, the second game was the reality check for them as well. 

England Squad: Heather Knight (C), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Tash Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt

England has named a squad of 16, including a standout recall for Tash Farrant, two years on from losing her central contract and eight years after her international debut as a 17-year-old. This left-arm seamer, who has impressed as captain of South East Stars, came in the place of Anya Shrubsole, suffering from Knee Injury. Georgia Elwiss has been included after missing England’s summer series against West Indies due to a back injury. Kate Cross and Lauren Winfield-Hill are too making a comeback on the side. 

England side looked solid in the series against West Indies, which they clinched by 5-0. Despite the fragile top order, the middle order came to their rescue every time. The middle-order, which consisted of the players like skipper Heather Knight, Amy Jones, and Nat Sciver, looks threatening. The middle-order has the best strike rate and ball per boundary ratio among all the other teams in the T-20 matches. Though Danni Wyatt’s form will be crucial in the context of the series, Fran Wilson and Katherin Brunt’s strike rate can give them the last boost in the dying overs. 

Lauren Winfield-Hill too got run in the last practice match. Her inclusion in the middle order in ODI matches will give England the desired boost. In the dry pitch of West-Indies, leg spinner Sarah Glenn was phenomenal. She had picked up 7 wickets with an economy of 5 in 4 t-20 matches. She will be joined the ranks of left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone, Maddy Villiers, and batting all-rounder Sophia Dunkley. Kate Cross will play a major role in the absence of Anya Shrubsole.

New Zealand ODI Squad: Sophie Devine (C), Natalie Dodd, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Frankie Mackay, Katey Martin, Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu 

On the other hand, New Zealand who lost their series against Australia has included Auckland teenager Fran Jonas and Northern Districts’ Brooke Halliday in a 13-strong WHITE FERNS ODI squad for the upcoming three-match G.J. Gardner Homes ODI series against England women. 

Halliday is the second-highest run-scorer in the one-day Hallyburton Johnstone Shield while Jonas is the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the competition. Kiwis will miss the service of Suzie Bates and Rosemary Mair due to injury. Mair though didn’t get many wickets but bowled economically. In her absence, Rowe, Jensen and, Lea Tahuhu need to step up. Tahuhu recently has led Canterbury Magicians to the Super Smash victory with an epic comeback and will look forward to carrying on her form with ball and bat.

Amelia Kerr who got 6 wickets in the ODI series and 3 in the T20 series against Australia will once again play a key role in the middle overs. The batter who got the highest individual run in an ODI inning needs to step up her form in the Kiwi Batting order. Sophie Devine and Satterthwaite were the first and 2nd run-getter in the recently concluded Super Smash, and the batting will depend a lot on these two seasoned campaigners. Satterthwaite made a comeback in the last series and looked comfortable in the ODI matches and scored a half-century as well. Natalie Dodd, Halliday, and Lauren Down, all of them got runs in the practice match and this should provide confidence in the side. 

New Zealand T20I Squad: Sophie Devine (C), Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Hayley Jensen, Amelia Kerr, Leigh Kasperek, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu, Thamsyn Newton

Kate Ebrahim’s good form for the Magicians and her knock in the title-winning final has earned her a call in the side along with Leigh Kasperek who missed the series against Australia. WHITE FERNS Selector Jason Wells said their return was a reward for strong domestic performances. “Kate and Thamsyn have worked hard and proven their ability in the Dream11 Super Smash this season,” said Wells.

ODI Series

Tuesday – February 23: 1st ODI, New Zealand v England (Hagley Oval, 1 am GMT)

Friday – February 26: 2nd ODI, New Zealand v England (University of Otago Oval, 10 pm GMT)

Sunday – February 28: 3rd ODI, New Zealand v England (University of Otago Oval, 10 pm GMT)

T20I Series

Wednesday – March 3: 1st IT20, New Zealand v England (Sky Stadium, 2 am GMT)

Friday – March 5: 2nd IT20, New Zealand v England (Eden Park, 2 am GMT)

Sunday – March 7: 3rd IT20, New Zealand v England (Bay Oval, 11 pm GMT)



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