New Zealand v England: Tourists need bowling improvement

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Ross Taylor will make his eagerly-awaited return to the New Zealand fold since he opted out of selection following a much-publicised captaincy dispute and this boosts the value of the hosts’ 11/10 underdog price in the opening T20 international.

Despite this, England have won seven of their previous 12 T20 internationals and both of their previous matches in New Zealand in the game’s shortest format. With these stats in mind, getting behind the Three Lions’ 8/11 match betting odds may prove a shrewd move.

Strong showings with the bat from both Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler – who made half centuries – ensured the tourists’ warm-up defeat to a New Zealand XI wasn’t a total loss, while Michael Lumb also looked in good touch at the top of the order.

Stuart Broad’s omission from the majority of the India tour looks to have worked a charm too; he returned to the international fold by claiming a hat-trick in the first warm up, then three scalps at a run a ball in the second, though he may feel slightly let down by his comrades in attack following defeat in this game.

England’s bowling unit was mainly culpable for their battering in games two, three and four of the ODI series with India and a big effort is needed from the likes of Jade Dernbach – who showed an improvement by picking up four wickets across the two warm ups – if he is going to keep his place in the limited-overs team.

The Surrey quick is priced up at 4/1 to be the top wicket-taker of the England attack though, based on his brilliance in the warm ups, backing Stuart Broad to take more than 1.5 wickets in the opening game at 5/4 looks as good as free money.

Similarly, the same can be said of Alex Hales’ 11/10 to hit over 2.5 fours. He’s fired 11 in his previous two T20 internationals and consistently performs at the top of the Three Lions’ order.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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