England and New Zealand will lock horns in the first of four T20Is on Wednesday evening at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street. England come into this series well-prepared with some of their key players like Jos Butler, Harry Brook and Sam Curran performing well in The Hundred. We look at the best bets and have a prediction for the first T20I of the series.
This series could be decided by the bowling attacks with England’s inexperienced attack compared to the Black Caps’ which consists of Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Kyle Jamieson and Lockie Ferguson.
Harry Brook will have a point to prove after his World Cup commission and will be one of England’s key batters in this series. He was The Hundred’s third-leading run-scorer, with 238 runs and scoring the only centurion in the season (105*). He will be hoping to continue with his fine form. He’s big value at 5.00 to be the hosts’ top batter and I’m backing him to deliver.
New Zealand’s captain Tim Southee has taken more than 2 wickets in eight of his last 15 T20Is and comes into this game in great form. He is also one wicket away from being the leading wicket-taker in T20Is (140). He currently shares the top spot with Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan. Back him to take over 1.5 wickets in this game at 2.35.
Not a single of the seven 2023 Vitality Blast games in Chester-le-Street were won by the team that batted first.
However, England’s last six home T20Is were all won by the team that set a target.
The average run rate at the venue during this season’s Vitality Blast was 8.28rpo, with first innings scores in full matches ranging from 146 to 178 and averaging 163.
In 11 of their last 14 T20Is, New Zealand claimed their first wicket for fewer than 20 runs.
Jos Buttler averages just 12.67 against the bowling of Ish Sodhi in T20Is (8.44rpo).
Nearly two-thirds of Dawid Malan’s T20I innings at home produce either a half-century (five) or single-digit score (seven).
Tim Southee collected 2+ wickets in eight of his last 15 T20Is.
Jos Buttler has scored 122 runs off the bowling of Mitchell Santner in all formats without a single dismissal.
The Riverside has seen a chase bias in the Blast in the last two seasons. Eight of the last 12 matches have been won by the chasing side. Placing your bet after the toss will be a wise move but I also see value in New Zealand at 2.85 whether they bat first or not.