New Zealand have turned the horses for courses policy into an art in this ICC World T20 2016, so going into the semifinal against England, there is no reason for Kane Williamson to change his stripes now. England, on the other hand, have just trusted their core and gone with similar players, so expect Eoin Morgan to think along similar team news lines when the ball drops for this highly-anticipated final four matchup at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi.
Having played in four venues in their four Super 10 matches, New Zealand have adapted to the different conditions quite well, and there is nothing to suggest they will find it difficult to attune themselves to the Kotla. While England have the upper hand of having played two group matches in Delhi, New Zealand have form, momentum and confidence on their side.
The spinners have been doing exceedingly well, the faster bowlers – with Trent Boult and Tim Southee watching on from the bench -- have backed them up and the batsmen have managed to put just about what is required on the scoreboard.
Apart from the Mohali pitch, the three other venues that New Zealand, who have batted first and defended a total in all four matches, have played on, the wicket has been pretty slow, with the spinners coming into play. The Delhi wicket, when South Africa played Sri Lanka in the final Super 10 game Monday, had a bit of grass on it, but it was the spinners who were most effective.
So, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Nathan McCullum, if he plays, might come into play again, even if a fresh pitch will be used for this semifinal. If there is a bit of a green tinge to the pitch – and there was on match eve -- Adam Milne might come in for McCullum, even if grass does not necessarily mean pace off the pitch, with wickets in previous matches proving to be pretty slow.
Apart from that, the team should remain the same. Martin Guptill, of course, will return at the top of the order for Henry Nicholls. Southee and Boult, though, will have to stay on the bench, unless Williamson decides to pull a surprise to throw England off guard.
England, who might want to bat first if they win the toss just to take New Zealand out of their comfort zone, played well to beat Sri Lanka and book their place in the semifinal, and while the bowlers got a little tight as Angelo Mathews started smashing the ball to all parts of the ground, changes are not expected in that department. The spinners were the problem in that match, with Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid going for plenty, and Morgan will hope the slower bowlers make up for that off day with a strong performance against New Zealand.
Expected lineups: England: Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (C), Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan, David Willey, Liam Plunkett.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (C), Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Grant Elliott, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Nathan McCullum, Ish Sodhi, Mitchell McClenaghan.