Solution simple for Black Caps – just win games
HAMISH BIDWELL IN CHITTAGONG
Let England crow: Sure, their six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka was a good one.
Statistically, England have never enjoyed a better one, given all the individual and team records that were achieved along their way to 190 for four in 19.2 overs.
But they don't deserve to get anywhere at this World Twenty20 tournament.
If England's victory, which put the cat among the group 1 pigeons, showed us anything, it was that if you bowl second in the night games at Chittagong's Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium you are going to struggle.
Twenty20 cricket is skewed far enough in favour of batsmen as it is, without playing in such dewy conditions that the bowlers can't grip the ball. Well played to England's Alex Hales, for his 116 not out, but you cannot take his innings at complete face value in those circumstances.
Which means what for this group and New Zealand in particular?
Group 1 is pretty open now.
Sri Lanka still lead, with two wins from three games and the best net run rate, courtesy of their crushing win over the Netherlands.
The entirely unconvincing South Africans are next, with a two from three record as well, then the Black Caps and England.
They both have a win and loss each but, beyond Sri Lanka, New Zealand have the best run rate.
That should get a further boost once they have played the Netherlands tonight (New Zealand time).
That is the day game, Chittagong time, followed by England against South Africa. The patchy form of both teams, and the night fixture, mean the second leg of tonight's double-header is a lottery.
But if there is any justice in the world, England will get thrashed.
Again, fair play to Hales, and Eoin Morgan who gave him admirable support, but their bowling and fielding were appalling in the first half of that Sri Lankan game and they have no business being in a semifinal.
Tonight is a big one for this group.
New Zealand need to do a professional job on the Netherlands.
Nothing amazing, no hundreds off 50 balls, just play tidy, intelligent, calm cricket and let the result take care of itself.
Do that and all is set up for Tuesday morning's (NZ time) final group game against Sri Lanka.
That is a night match and Sri Lankan spinners Ajantha Mendis and Sachithra Senanayake, nor fast bowler Lasith Malinga, are nearly as effective in those conditions.
New Zealand will like their chances there.
For England or South Africa, this could be the end of the road.
This is the last group game for the Proteas and a two-win, two-loss record and poor net run rate would leave them in serious doubt to progress to the semifinals.
Beyond leg-spinner Imran Tahir and fast bowler Dale Steyn, their bowlers have gone missing and the million-dollar shots of their batsmen are only yielding nickle and dime scores. For a team of their ability, South Africa are under achieving.
Even if South Africa beat England, New Zealand are still strongly placed to qualify ahead of them, due to their superior net run rate.
The Black Caps just need to win two more games.
Victory for England would make things even more interesting.
They have just the Dutch left to play after that and while they have lost to them in a previous edition of this tournament, the Netherlands have no Dirk Nannes or Ryan ten Doeschate this time.
England could conceivably finish up with three wins but need to get their run rate out of negative territory.
There are any number of calculations and complications that have crept into this.
For the Black Caps, though, the simplest equation is best.
If they beat the Netherlands tonight and then Sri Lanka, they are sweet. Game on.
HOW THEY LINE UP
What: World Twenty20 tournament group 1
Who: New Zealand v the Netherlands
Where and when: Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong, and Sky Sport 4 10.30pm tonight
New Zealand: (from) Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum (c), Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Mitchell McClenaghan, Anton Devcich, Jimmy Neesham, Roneel Hira, Trent Boult
Netherlands: (from) Stephan Myburgh, Michael Swart, Wesley Barresi, Peter Borren (c), Tom Cooper, Ben Cooper, Mudassar Bukhari, Pieter Seelaar, Logan van Beek, Timm van der Gugten, Ahsan Malik, Vivian Kingman, Michael Rippon, Eric Szwarczynski, Tom Heggelman
Umpires: Aleem Dar, Bruce Oxenford
- Fairfax Media
Should bouncers be banned from cricket?