Thu Dec 08 22:06:48 SAST 2016

kiwis battle for a berth

By Bruce Fraser | 2009-09-29 00:00:00.0 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

TODAY's clash in Group B of the ICC Champions Trophy at the Wanderers in Johannesburg promises to be a cracker.

TODAY's clash in Group B of the ICC Champions Trophy at the Wanderers in Johannesburg promises to be a cracker.

Though England have already qualified for the semifinals starting on Friday, they will be hoping to maintain their current winning form after a slump in one-day international fortunes.

After their recent Ashes series win over Australia, they were beaten 6-1 in the ODIs by Ricky Ponting's men.

But they have found new confidence after comfortable wins against Sri Lanka and South Africa - both rated higher than them in world standings.

With each passing game skipper Andrew Strauss is taking his captaincy a step up. His field placing and rotation of his bowlers against the Proteas was a lesson for many captains taking part in the tournament.

In James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad he has a bowling trio short on showmanship but possessing heaps of honest toil.

Strauss will also be looking to his in-form batsmen Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood and Eoin Morgan to put early runs on the board so the pressure doesn't build for those coming in late in the innings.

For New Zealand it's all or nothing as they attempt to secure a semifinal berth.

They've had mixed fortunes so far with a big loss to South Africa followed by a win over the more fancied Sri Lankans.

Captain Daniel Vettori will miss the big-hitting Jesse Ryder - out with a hamstring injury he picked up against Sri Lanka - as they attempt to reach the next round for the first time since 2002.

A lot will rest on opener Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott and rising star Martin Guptill with the bat.

In the bowling stakes strike bowler Shane Bond and spinners Vettori and Jeetan Patel will be called on to stop an England roll.

l The match will be televised live on SABC3 and SuperSport 2.

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