T20 WC, Semi-Final 1, ENG vs NZ: 6 Player Battles To Watch Out For

England face New Zealand in the first semi-final of the ongoing T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Both teams sealed a place in the final four with each registering four wins and a defeat in the Super 12 stage. England will hope to bounce from a narrow defeat to South Africa in their final group game with a win over the Kiwis, and secure a place in the final of the showpiece event. New Zealand, on the other hand, are unbeaten in their last four games, despite having started their T20 World Cup campaign with a defeat against Pakistan.

Both teams met in the warm-up game ahead of the tournament, which England won by 13 runs.

Ahead of the power-packed semi-final clash between England and New Zealand, here are six player battles which could decide the outcome of this match:

Daryl Mitchell vs Chris Woakes

Daryl Mitchell will hope to play an important knock for his team in the first semi-final. He, however, has not performed up to the mark in the tournament so far, barring his knock of 49 against India.

Mitchell has struggled against pacers who can swing the ball either way, and Chris Woakes will aim to pounce on his weakness.

Woakes has been very economical in the tournament so far, scalping five wickets in five games at an average of 23.

However, both players haven’t faced each other much in the past.

Martin Guptill vs Moeen Ali

Martin Guptill holds the key for New Zealand with the bat, having already scored 175 runs at an average of 35.20 in the tournament so far. It is no secret that Guptill tends to struggle against spinners, and Moeen Ali will hope to make the most of the former’s weakness.

Moeen, on the other hand, has bowled with a lot of discipline and conviction in the ongoing tournament. He has picked up seven wickets at an average of 15.40 so far.

Both players haven’t faced each other much but this battle could prove to be crucial considering the importance of the match.

Kane Williamson vs Adil Rashid

Kane Williamson and Adil Rashid are arguably the most reliable players for their teams in their respective departments. While Williamson has batted with a lot determination in the tournament so far, Rashid has provided important breakthroughs for his team.

Both players have had quite a few interesting battles over the years in international cricket. However, the New Zealand skipper has had the upper hand over the England spinner.

While Rashid has only dismissed Williamson once, the latter has scored runs with a strike rate of over 123 against the former. However, with the UAE pitches assisting the spinners, Rashid will surely fancy his chances against Williamson this time.

Jos Buttler vs Trent Boult

Jos Buttler is second-highest run-scorer in the ongoing T20 World Cup, with 240 runs in five matches, averaging 48. He is also the only player to smash a century so far in the tournament.

Trent Boult, on the other hand, is the leading wicket-taker among pacers, and third overall, with 11 scalps so far. He, however, faces a tough challenge in the form of Buttler, who has been smacking bowlers for fun in this tournament.

Interestingly, Boult is yet to dismiss Jos Buttler in a T20 game. If New Zealand want to win the game, that has to change. As long as Buttler is in the middle, England are favourites to win the game.

Jonny Bairstow vs Ish Sodhi

With Jason Roy ruled out for the remainder of the tournament due to a calf injury, Jonny Bairstow is likely to fill his shoes and partner Buttler at the top of the order.

Despite his big reputation, Bairstow has not been able to perform well in the tournament, scoring just 34 runs in five matches so far.

Bairstow has struggled against spinners, getting out on three occasions to them. He will face another formidable opponent in the form of Ish Sodhi, who has bowled exceptionally well in the tournament so far.

Sodhi, on the other hand, has been in fine form for the Kiwis, having scalped 8 wickets, with an economy rate of 24.60.

Moeen Ali vs Mitchell Santner


The battle between all-rounders Moeen and Mitchell Santner is another important match-up to look forward to. Both Moeen and Santner have delivered for their teams when called upon.

While Moeen has had a slightly better tournament with his all-round exploits, Santner also has the ability to contribute in both departments when needed.

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