New Zealand aim to learn from past mistakes and level the series at Hove

New Zealand team © Getty Images

The last time New Zealand won a T20I against England was six years ago, in February 2015, at Whangarei. Since then, they have faced each other eight times, and the White Ferns have not been able to get across the line. Going into the second T20I at Hove, where they played the first-ever T20 International in 2004, New Zealand would want to get back to winning ways to keep the series alive.

The tourists did not get off to a great start as they suffered a 46-run defeat in the first T20I. However, New Zealand would want to put that behind them and move on to the next game as their skipper Sophie Devine wished for.

Speaking ahead of the second match, Devine said that they went back and looked at the footage to see how they would want to improve and not repeat the mistakes from the first T20I. “There were some clear signs, especially with our bowling, I guess, the lines we bowled. We have identified it and spoken to the bowling group and the whole unit around the lines we need to bowl to restrict the English batters,” she said.

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With Tammy Beaumont, Amy Jones and Sophia Dunkley launching a counter-attack in the middle overs, the New Zealand bowling succumbed to the pressure conceding 184 for four in the 20 overs at Chelmsford. At Hove, they would want to do much better than that to have a fighting chance at keeping the series alive.

The bigger worry for New Zealand, though, is the batting. Both Suzie Bates and Devine are coming back from a break and have not been able to get things going in their first match on return. Despite the positives from Amy Satterthwaite’s knock, New Zealand would be hopeful that the top three are at their best with the bat at Hove, where the outfield is comparatively bigger than Chelmsford.

“It’s a bit unique here with the big slope running down the wicket. The pitch, I think, will be as good as what we saw at Chelmsford. I guess it is going to be how we adapt to the bigger outfield. This is obviously a bigger field, so there is plenty of pocket for twos,” Devine added.

For England, they could not have asked for a better start as their performance was clinical in all three departments at Chelmsford. Beaumont’s 97, along with some incredible hitting from Jones and Dunkley in the end, set the game up nicely for the hosts.

England’s star with the ball Natasha Farrant, who got the big wicket of Sophie Devine early in the chase, was all praise for Beaumont. “Tammy was obviously world-class the other night. It was incredible to watch,” she said in a media interaction said before the second T20I.

Farrant felt that high-scoring games and fast outfields test the bowler’s skills, adding that they would want to continue playing in such conditions, especially in their preparation for the ODI World Cup in New Zealand next year.

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Though Heather Knight, who missed the first T20I due to a sore hamstring, will play at Hove is still unclear, England did not seem to miss her services much with Natalie Sciver stepping in as stand-in skipper.

During the first T20I, New Zealand allrounder Frances Mackay had tweeted about the specific plans England seemed to have to counter every White Ferns batter. When asked about it, Farrant said that they would like to stick to their strengths, learn from the past experiences of playing against New Zealand and implement them on the field.

For a while now, England had the problem of plenty, especially in their bowling department. Anya Shrubsole and Freya Davies had to sit out the first T20I, with Sciver completing the seam attack alongside Farrant and Katherine Brunt. Whether they will be rotated as the series progress is something one will have to wait and see.

The second T20I at Hove would mark Devine’s hundredth T20I appearance for White Ferns. She said that she was delighted to have played as many matches for New Zealand, hoping that they would be on the right side of the result.

Will New Zealand win the match on the special occasion for their skipper, or will England seal the series and extend their winning streak?

England: Heather Knight (c), Natalie Sciver, Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Natasha Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Danielle Wyatt, Emma Lamb, Maia Bouchier, Charlie Dean

New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Amy Satterthwaite, Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Claudia Green, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Jess Kerr, Katey Martin (wk), Leigh Kasperek, Molly Penfold, Jessica McFadyen (wk), Thamsyn Newton, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu