Cardiff, June 5: New Zealand will be the obstacle standing between England and a semi-final spot when the two nations lock horns in a Group A contest of the Champions Trophy cricket tournament at Sophia Gardens here on Tuesday.
New Zealand have faced England nine times earlier in familiar conditions in the past four years and England hold an edge over New Zealand with the head-to-head tally reading 5-4.
There will be a lot at stake for both the teams in Tuesday’s tie. England will look to put one foot in the semi-finals with a second successive win while New Zealand will aim for two full points after rain denied them a crack at Australia.
In the last match against Australia, which was washed off due to rain, New Zealand had the upper hand. Skipper Kane Williamson led his side from the front against the trans-Tasmanian rivals with a ninth ODI hundred. Luke Ronchi too looked to forming a lethal combination alongside Martin Guptill in the top order.
On the other hand, England outclassed a relatively weaker opponent Bangladesh in the opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy, defeating them by eight wickets chasing 306 runs with 16 balls to spare.
England Captain Eoin Morgan might also bring back leggie Adil Rashid to add teeth to the bowling attack.
The hosts will have to deal with the absence of fast bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes, who was ruled out of the tournament with an injury after bowling just two overs against Bangladesh. Pacer Steven Finn has been named as replacement.
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Alex Hales, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Steven Finn.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Neil Broom, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, James Neesham, Jeetan Patel, Luke Ronchi (wicketkeeper), Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.