Swashbuckling England look to take limited overs form into T20


New Zealand’s high octane tour of England, which has produced entertainment no matter the format, concludes with a one-off encounter in the most helter-skelter version of them all.

A shared Test match series played as if both teams’ brakes had been cut was followed by a run-fest ODI series in which England prevailed in a fascinating decider.

With both parties moving to Old Trafford for the only T20, things are certain to catch fire again.

The youthful new era the hosts embraced for the 50-over tussles largely remains intact, with Reece Topley and James Vince added to those swashbuckling youths to have already flexed their ODI muscles.

In total, England have five uncapped players in their squad, with Topley and Vince joined by Sam Billings, David Willey and Mark Wood, all of whom featured in the ODI series victory.

That five-match thriller was so surprisingly tight it could well have shaped the odds for a completely new contest in a wholly different format.

Ladbrokes can’t find a winner from the duo, marking both England and New Zealand down as equal 10/11 chances for victory. That’s despite the home side winning just three of their last 12 T20 internationals and the Kiwis landing six in that same span.

With T20 cricket acting like the sport’s version of the penalty shootout though, it serves to stay away from the match-betting market altogether.

Instead look to Alex Hales to score over 20.5 runs at 5/6, something he’s managed easily in four of his last five T20Is with scores of 116*, 38, 12, 66 and 40. Alternatively, back him to score a 50 at 10/3.

Also expect Brendon McCullum to make a final contribution to the New Zealand cause after a quiet ODI series in which he averaged just 20.20 from the five games.

Ahead of a brief stint as the Birmingham Bears’ overseas pro in the format, the Black Caps skipper is 10/1 to finish with the man-of-the-match award.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.