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New Zealand vs England 2018: 5 things to look out for in ODI series

Akshay Sharma
CONTRIBUTOR
Top 5 / Top 10
905   //    23 Feb 2018, 23:08 IST

England v New Zealand - 4th ODI Royal London One-Day Series 2015

Usually not a marquee contest, the ODI series between England and New Zealand this time promises to be an exciting contest as it involves two in-form sides coming off big wins over their last opponents in a bilateral series.

New Zealand walloped Pakistan 5-0 in their previous ODI stint while England smashed traditional foes Australia 4-1 in their own backyard. It’s hard to say which team is the favourite even though the Kiwis are playing at home. With a tight contest expected, here are five things to watch out for in the upcoming contest.

#1 Root-Williamson duel

England v New Zealand - 4th ODI Royal London One-Day Series 2015

The cricket world has been busy trying to decide who between Virat Kohli and Steve Smith is the better batsman with both raking up big runs in the recent past. But the other two members of the ‘Fab Four', - Joe Root and Kane Williamson - cannot be forgotten and this series gives them both an opportunity to get themselves back in the limelight.

While Williamson scored a century against Pakistan and captained his team to a whitewash, Root made a couple of valuable contributions in the Australia series. The success of Smith and Kohli, as well as the presence of another rival in the opposite camp, may just spur the two to raise their performance to a higher level and make a bigger contribution to their team’s success. This contest should be riveting.

Last time England were in New Zealand, Root was playing only his second ODI series and looking to establish himself as a regular. Though he didn’t get a big score in any of the three matches, he did make valuable contributions, even getting his side home in the final ODI to seal the series. Returning to New Zealand shores, he is now the lynchpin of the line-up and more is expected of him.

Batting at the pivotal No 3 and 4 positions respectively, Williamson and Root have the responsibility to build the innings. Hopefully, there will be some delightful performances from these two graceful and elegant players.

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Akshay Sharma
CONTRIBUTOR
Former Sports Correspondent with The Pioneer newspaper
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