England - New Zealand World T20 Preview: Morgan leads men against Kiwi's in first semi-final

England and New Zealand will battle it out in the first World T20 semi-final with a place in the final against either India or the West Indies up for grabs.

England - New Zealand World T20 Preview: Morgan leads men against Kiwi's in first semi-final
World T20: England vs New Zealand - Preview

England will head into Wednesday's World T20 semi-final against New Zealand looking to avenge their drubbing at the 2015 World Cup. In that game Tim Southee tore the visitors apart with a destructive spell of 7/33 as England fell to their second highest ODI defeat - eight wickets.

A thrilling ODI series in the summer will live long in the memory, but it's the here and now that counts with a spot in the World T20 final at stake. 


England have gone all the way and lifted the trophy before back in 2010 in the West Indies, whilst the Kiwis haven't reached the final four of the tournament since the inaugural edition in South Africa way back in 2007. 

Despite none of England's players being around during the triumpent 2010 competition, Paul Collingwood - who is part of Trevor Bayliss' backroom staff in India - captained the Three Lions to their first global tournament win.

Tournament so far 

The Black Caps are the only unbeaten side left in the competition, with a low-scoring thriller against India in the tournament opener the highlight of their campaign thus far. 

Captain Kane Williamson and coach Mike Hesson read the pitch perfectly as they beat the hosts at their own game. On a slow, turning pitch in Nagpur they decided to leave out swing kings Tim Southee and Trent Boult and opted for a three-pronged spin attack with Nathan McCullum, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi instead. 

They batted first and clawed their way to 126 before dismissing the Indians for a mere 79 with the spinners claiming nine wickets between. 

On the other hand, England haven't had an easy ride but got the job done to progress. 

A Gayleforce struck in their opening game as cavalier Chris Gayle smashed an unbeaten hundred after England posted a respectable score. They went on to get a World T20 record when chasing down a mammoth 230 against South Africa, courtesy of a Joe Root masterclass. 

The seamers saved them after a stutter with the bat against Afghanistan, before the associate nations knocked off the West Indies to tarnish their otherwise perfect Super 10 campaign, whilst Ben Stokes held his nerve in the final over against Sri Lanka after Angelo Mathews got his side close by swinging on one leg. 

Stokes celebrates against Sri Lanka (photo: AP)
Stokes celebrates against Sri Lanka (photo: AP)

Players to watch 

With the bat Joe Root will hold the key for England. He opened his account with a 48 before his classy 83 got England over the line against the Proteas. Since then he has registered scores of just 12 and 25, so he'll be hungry for runs when they matter most against New Zealand. 

For New Zealand, dangerman Martin Guptill will be aiming to get them off to a flier. The opener has been going aggressively when the ball is at its hardest and even hit the first ball of the Super 10s for six. 

But Mitchell Santner has stolen the show for them thus far. His 4/11 against India are his best figures to date and he has nine wickets to his name so far in the tournament - leaving him top of the leading wicket-takers list other than bowlers from Afghanistan and Bangladesh who played in the preliminary round.