World T20: New Zealand spin key to England’s semi success

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Win twice more, and either New Zealand will be the latest first-time winners of the World T20 or England will reign for the second time in its history. Lose and it’s game over.

After two separate group phases, the tournament finally moves into knockout cricket for the semi-finals, starting with the Three Lions’ battle with the Kiwis in Delhi on Wednesday.

Kane Williamson’s Black Caps should be well placed to enter win-or-bust mode, having yet to lose a game in the competition.

Four wins from four isn’t quite enough to dislodge tournament hosts India from favouritism, but does go a long way to Ladbrokes making them an odds-on 5/6 to reach the final.

Spin has played a crucial part of New Zealand’s dominance thus far and that’s not likely to change against England in Delhi.

Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and, to a lesser extent, Nathan McCullum have surprised many in forming a formidable unit thus far.

The 20 wickets they have taken as a trio is more than any other team’s spin options. Santner leads the way with nine scalps, while Sodhi’s economy rate is bettered only by the West Indies’ Sulieman Benn.

Comparatively, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have only managed eight scalps between them.

Clearly the key to England winning – which is priced as an even-money chance – lies in taming New Zealand’s tweakers. However, that has proved difficult for much of the batting card up to this point in the tournament.

Only Jos Buttler and Joe Root have managed to blend a free spirit with heavy run-scoring in Indian conditions and it will be a dangerous ploy to rely solely on that duo to overcome the competition’s penultimate hurdle.

Root is one of three England batters Ladbrokes have decided to boost in the race to be England’s top scorer in the game. The Yorkshireman is out from 5/2 to 3/1 in that department. He is joined by opener Jason Roy, who is 4/1 from 7/2 and skipper Eoin Morgan at 13/2.

With the latter of that trio only contributing 61 runs thus far, the semi-final would be a timely moment in which to play a captain’s knock. England may well need him to if they are to overcome New Zealand’s might.

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.