Phillips a must at 6/16.80
Rain could delay start
England v New Zealand
Wednesday 30 August, 18:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
England v New Zealand team news
England should be, at least, well prepared for this four-game series with The Hundred likely to have been a good warm-up. The likes of Jos Buttler, Harry Brook and Sam Curran have been in good form.
Still, Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali from the bedraggled Phoenix may not agree. And England are scrabbling around for attack leaders with injury robbing them of first picks like Josh Tongue. Chris Jordan, then, a late call-up, may be a senior man with Sam Curran.
It has to be said that the bowling looks weak and potentially pricey. It will be interesting to see if Brydon Carse and Gus Atkinson as a new-ball pair. The batting does have have the power to get them out of a hole, though. .
Possible XI: Buttler, Bairstow, Malan, Brook, Livingstone, Moeen, S Curran, Rashid, Jordan, Carse, Atkinson
By contrast, the pace attack New Zealand could form looks excellent. Adam Milne and Tim Southee have been in fine touch. Two from Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry and Kyle Jamieson may have to miss out.
Of course they're not as frightening with the bat. Glenn Phillips may have to do a lot of heavy lifting and we didn't see him do much of that for Welsh Fire. Daryll Mitchell isn't a T20 player who demands we back his team is he?
Possible XI: Allen, Conway, Seifert, Phillips, Mitchell, Chapman, Neesham, Santner, Southee, Milne, Ferguson
England v New Zealand pitch report
The Riverside has seen a chase bias in the Blast in the last two seasons. Eight of the last 12 have been won by the chaser. There have been six scores of 160 or more.
We're not rushing to go overs particularly as bit of rain could delay the start. It could be that bowling conditions are perfect and the chance to short England runs at skinny prices at high totals is tempting.
England v New Zealand match odds
England are 1.4740/85 with New Zealand 3.052/1. My word that's a big gulf between two sides which look well-matched.
So that weather forecast, the toss bias and New Zealand's bowling strength leads to an obvious bet.
We're keen on the Kiwis if the toss goes their way. The belief that England's batting strength and New Zealand's bowling skill makes this a close affair is rationale enough alone, though, and the odds aren't right.
England are the world champions but it's not the same XI by a long chalk. The intensity isn't likely to be there so early in a cycle, either.
England v New Zealand player bets
Phillips is a go-to option on win rate and he's drifted in the lead-up. The 6/16.80 is huge, particularly if new-ball carnage gets him to the crease in good time. Jamieson isn't expected to play but if he does he could bat as high as No 8. On order and ability there is not a chance in hell he's 100/1101.00 .
Jost Buttler topped in six matches for Originals in The Hundred and gets a quote of 11/43.70. But Brook stands out at 13/27.40 with a point to prove after his World Cup omission.