After backing England to win the opener at a decent price, Ed Hawkins previews game two from Wellington early on Sunday and expects another strong show from the tourists...
"Before the action from Hagley Oval we were not convinced of the price gulf between the two teams. And having been proved right, it would be strange to change our mind now"
New Zealand v England
Sunday 3 November, 01:00 GMT
Live on Sky Sports
Kiwis need firepower
New Zealand blamed a lack of match fitness and an inability to adapt to a two-paced pitch at the Hagley Oval for defeat in the opener on Friday. There is no doubt they will be better for the run.
In the end, they were probably one big over short of taking the spoils, or at least setting up a nervy finish. Their openers could be held responsible. It's not really acceptable to allow a maiden in the powerplay and the notion of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro being flat track bullies held more water.
Ross Taylor's marshalling to a competitive total and late hitting from Mitchell were positives. By the middle of this series the likes of Lockie Ferguson and Ish Sodhi are likely to have found their rhythm with the ball. Kane Williamson and Trent Boult are both absent.
England off to a flyer
England made it six consecutive wins in T20 and got new coach Chris Silverwood's regime off to the perfect start. It was a solid performance, built on excellent line and length from pace bowlers, two of them making debuts.
Sam Curran and Pat Brown did their chances of breaking into the squad for next year's World T20 no harm. Surrey brothers Sam and Tom Curran conceded just seven from the opening three overs and Brown showed variation and nous at the death.
James Vince was at his aesthetic best with 59 from 38 and despite Jason Roy, Joe Root and Ben Stokes not on tour, England's batting line-up did not look out of place. It is one which should be able to go hit-for-hit with the Kiwis throughout the series.
Wicket looks flat
There have been ten T20 internationals played at the Westpac. The last five scores (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent) read: 219-1/196-1/105-2/196-1/159-2. This could be the road Guptill (pictured) and Munro require. Domestic T20 has not been played at the venue since 2014. The most recent contest was a T20 women's international in February when the Kiwis amassed 219 against India.
As discussed in the most recent episode of Cricket...Only Bettor, this could be on of those times when it pays to go high on the runs markets, possibly 180 or 190.
Tourists still value
New Zealand have retained favourite status despite that seven-wicket loss. They are 4/51.83 with England at 6/52.16.
Before the action from Hagley Oval we were not convinced of the price gulf between the two teams. And having been proved right, it would be strange to change our mind now even if we suspect the home team's gun players, Guptill and Munro, will find the wicket more to their liking.
New Zealand need those two to give them a fast start - or at least one or two decent overs - to justify that favourite tag. But England can hit, too, and Jonny Bairstow's fluent form is a strong pointer for the tourists.
Bairstow to the fore
Tim Seifert was unfortunate not to go on for a big one at the Hagley Oval. He was caught off a waist-high full toss and would probably have got a reprieve on another day. At Wellington, he may find his luck is in. Last time out he smashed 84 from 43 against India. Seifert is 4s for top Kiwi bat with Sportsbook. Guptill hit 65 from 40 against England at the venue in 2018. He is 5/2 with Munro 11/4. Colin de Grandhomme, as discussed in Hawk Eye, is value at 7s.
For England, we like the look of Bairstow. The Yorkshireman is hitting the ball well and although we'd like bigger odds by the letter of the law, the 11/4 is likely to prove a popular price about him top scoring for England.
Bairstow has opened only four times for England but averages 38 with 20 fours struck. Those numbers make going over Sportsbook's 29.5 runs quote (5/4) and 2.5 fours quote (4/5) attractive. In all T20s (domestic, franchise or international) he has opened 20 times, averaging 34 and hitting an average of 3.75 four per match.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l