England To Edge Out New Zealand

Root displayed his class in the opener

England made the perfect start in their bid to claim their maiden ICC Champions Trophy crown, defeating Bangladesh by eight wickets.

The Three Lions were put on the back foot by a century from Tamim Iqbal to guide the Tigers to a score of over 300 from their 50 overs.

However, an unbeaten hundred from Joe Root along with scores of 95 and 73 from Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan respectively guided the host nation to a comfortable victory.

England will now aim to strengthen their claim for a semi-final berth against New Zealand, who were frustrated by the weather in their opener against Australia.

A century from Kane Williamson allowed the Black Caps to post a competitive score of 291, although a late collapse prevented a total of beyond 300.

Adam Milne put the Aussies on the back foot in their reply with two strikes and New Zealand look well placed to challenge for the victory before the rains came to force the abandonment.

The Black Caps are in a vulnerable place due to taking only one point from their opening contest and will be determined to defeat England in Cardiff to avoid a premature exit from the competition.

The two sides last met in 2015, which was the start of the revolution of the Three Lions’ resurgence after the World Cup, with the teams playing out a thrilling five-match series that England won 3-2.

We can only hope for just as an exciting contest this time around in this Champions Trophy clash. We’ll now break down the best betting odds for the Group A match.

England’s Top Batsman

Root displayed his class in the opener

Root highlighted his class at the crease with an excellent knock in the opener to defeat Bangladesh. He notched his career-best score of 133, ending with aplomb by dispatching the ball to all parts of the ground, including back-to-back boundaries to get over the line.

He did injure his ankle in the process of the innings, but should be ok to play against the Black Caps. The 26-year-old will be vital to England’s prospects in the contest against a quality attack.

Root tempered his innings perfectly at The Oval, knocking the ball around with relative ease for the majority of his time in the middle, allowing Hales and Morgan to tee off around him.

The anchor role will be vital against New Zealand as firing boundaries against the likes of Trent Boult and Tim Southee will not be straightforward, despite the power at England’s disposal.

Root’s ability to rotate the strike in the middle overs could well loom large over the contest, with the potential of another match-winning century to enhance his reputation. Therefore backing the Yorkshireman at +300   with 32Red to lead the way makes a great deal of sense.

Jos Buttler did not bat in the opening match of the tournament due to the brilliance of the upper order. However, his power hitting could be crucial this time around, with memories of his outstanding 129 against the Black Caps in 2015 coming to the fore.

The contest is likely to be a close one, but a late surge from the wicket-keeper could well guide England to either an overwhelming total or over the line to victory. His performance is one to watch.

New Zealand’s Top Batsman

Root put down a marker for the world’s elite batsmen in the opening game of the tournament and Williamson responded with an excellent innings of his own against Australia.

The New Zealand skipper scored a fine century – the ninth of his ODI career – playing a number of exquisite shots around the ground to put the Baggy Greens on the back foot.

He was only dismissed due to a careless run out decision, with he and partner Neil Broom misjudging a single before a fine throw from Moises Henriques dismissed him at the non-strikers end.

Williamson appears to be in prime form and the responsibility of captaincy has brought out the best in his abilities at the crease. He will be looking to make a similar impact against the Three Lions, who he has fared well against in recent years, including the tour in 2015.

As a result, backing the 26-year-old at odds of +275 with William Hill is the best bet to take for the Black Caps. However, Martin Guptill could provide impetus at the start of the innings.

The opener scored a century in his side’s warm-up game against Sri Lanka, but made only 26 against Australia. He will have his sights set on a stronger performance against the Three Lions.

Top Bowler

Finn has the chance for redemption

England were dealt a hammer blow when Chris Woakes was ruled out for the tournament after bowling just two overs after suffering a side strain. The 28-year-old had turned himself into the leading of the attack in ODI cricket and was in good form following a successful spell in the IPL.

However, the Three Lions will have to venture forward without him, with Steven Finn called into the side to replace him. Finn was once England’s leading bowler in the 50-over format, but a loss of confidence and form deemed him “unselectable” by former coach Ashley Giles.

He was the primary victim in Brendon McCullum’s assault on England during the 2015 World Cup and has since seen his playing time limited. Finn will be determined to bounce back, and at the age of 28 with young talent emerging behind him in the ranks – it would well be last chance saloon.

Therefore backing Finn at odds of +750 with 888sport to lead the wicket column could be a solid bet, as for all his flaws he does strike at a decent rate.

Trent Boult always causes problems for batsmen at the crease and he snagged the vital wicket of David Warner before the rains came in his side’s opener. He has been a thorn in England’s side in the past and should conditions favour him early on – he will be a potent foe to deal with at Sophia Gardens.

Winner

England impressed in their opening win, although it was against Bangladesh – the weakest team in their group. Their batsman clicked into gear to guide them over the line with relative ease at The Oval, highlighting the strength of the team.

Their bowling was not quite at its best, but the loss of Woakes in the early stages of the game may mitigate their performance as they were forced to adjust on the fly. However, a similar display against the Black Caps could put them in trouble.

New Zealand are top heavy with their talent, with Williamson, Guptill, Boult and Southee possessing elite talent. The depth behind them is not great – therefore anything other than top-class performances could see the Three Lions secure the win.

The odds of -200   with William Hill provide the best value for an England victory and Morgan’s men should be able to deliver their second triumph on the bounce.

Tips Summary

England To Beat New Zealand
Tuesday 6th June 2017 10:30 am BST
Odds: -200

Joe Root To Be England’s Top Batsman
Tuesday 6th June 2017 10:30 am BST
Odds: +300

Kane Williamson To Be New Zealand’s Top Batsman
Tuesday 6th June 2017 10:30 am BST
Odds: +275

Steven Finn To Be Top Bowler
Tuesday 6th June 2017 10:30 am BST
Odds: +700