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Eng Vs NZ preview

The last time both these teams met, honours were evenly divided as it started off with them defeating each other regularly, and losing to Australia even more regularly. And then both continued their similar run of results by going ahead to defeat Australia in 5 games out of 5 between them.

New Zealand’s wins were, of course, more spectacular and dramatic, prompting everyone to label them as favourites. Are they really are? Let’s take a look.

I) Runs scored Vs Runs conceded

A good way to predict the success rate of a team is by comparing the runs they are projected to score as against the runs they are projected to concede.

England's estimated score is roughly 231, whereas their bowlers are projected to concede 244 in their 50 overs. That the bowlers are conceding more than their batsmen can score is bad news, but what will determine their fate is if New Zealand is doing worse.

New Zealand's batsmen score 230, while their bowlers are projected to concede 238. A negative difference of 8 runs for NZ as against a negative difference of 14 runs for the Englishmen...not much to go by, but NZ sneak a win in round 1.

II) Projected Team Scores
England’s advantage lies in batting second,while New Zealand’s advantage in batting first.
Using the Squadstats formula, England are expected to score around 241 for 7 and New Zealand 245 for 7 (including average extras conceded by both teams) . That, as you can plainly see, gives us nothing to choose from, as putting in an error margin would take the projected scores of both teams to between 235 to 250 or so. However, where the differences crop up is with when they bat. New Zealand have traditionally been excellent chasers – hunting down Australia’s 330+ scores thrice, and missing it by a very narrow margin a fourth time. The stats bear this out.

Going by the last 10 occasions, If England bat first, they score 229 – which means we can all go home and to bed early because NZ average score chasing is a whopping 276! On the other hand, while NZ have the potential to put up around 242 in the first innings, Eng have the potential to chase upto 250, which gives them an edge.


III) Don’t drop a catch off these guys!!
Most Valuable Batsmen
The average scores of both teams are similar, which indicates that their batting caliber is similar. So let’s see where one team can steal a march on the other. As per the averages, the English batsman score one 50 + score every 7.24 matches i.e. every 7 matches, whereas New Zealand do so every 9.77 i.e. every 10 matches. What this indicates is that England’s score of 230 comes more from big scores from one or two players, whereas NZ’s score of 230 odd comes more from several individual contributions of 30, 40 etc from several players That is, English scoring is more polarized towards a few players, while NZ scoring is better distributed amongst their players, which is a good sign for NZ since they aren’t dependent on any one batsmen as such.
From the NZ point of view, the key batsmen in the English side are Vaughan and Ian Bell, who notch up a 50 + score once in every 5 and 4 matches respectively. However, they have also got to be very vary of Collingwood and Pietersen who have a very high 50 to 100 conversion rate, converting 1 out of every three of their 50’s into 100. Basically, don’t let these guys get to 50, or else you have got hell to pay. Or atleast a hell lot to pay.

More so considering NZ have comparatively fewer big innings players. McMillan is their best, scoring a 50 + score once every 9 games, more than twice that of England’s best Bell. New hope Ross Taylor and Styris do it once every 10 games. Taylor, however, also has an excellent conversion rate of 50 % - in his short career so far, he has had 2 fifties and 2 hundreds.


IV) Most Dangerous Bowlers
If I were a New Zealand batsmen trying to chase 300 against England, I wouldn’t mess too much with Flintoff and Anderson – who contribute most to the overall English bowling averages, being a good 7 points better than the team bowling averages – and would rather wait for the likes of Dalrymple – at 8 points worse than the team average – Collingwood and Plunkett – around 2 points worse than the team average – to do my big hitting.

The New Zealand are, even here, almost irritatingly uniform, with almost every bowler being within 2 runs of the teams overall bowling average. Surprisingly, the best bowlers include Styris, who averages almost the same as the team’s average.

V) Dependence on boundaries

England score only 39% of their runs in boundaries, whereas New Zealand boundaries amount to almost 45 % of their score.

Clearly, New Zealand need to put a lid on England milking the singles in the middle overs, while England need to keep a check on McMillan, Oram and co smashing the ball around in the first and the last 10 overs.

So effectively, this game is a battle between a team which is very uniform and seems to operate on a pure 'team' level against a team who is polarized around individual brilliance. I am tempted to put my money on New Zealand.

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