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England looking to continue winning momentum in T20I against NZ

England looking to continue winning momentum in T20I against NZ

The one-off Twenty20 International at Old Trafford, between two sides that have demonstrated entertaining, aggressive cricket, seems like a fitting way to end a spectacular tour.

Jonny Bairstow's unbeaten 83 runs in 60 balls ignited England's three-wicket victory against New Zealand in Durham on Saturday (June 20) and inspired the team to a 3-2 One-Day International series win after five games that saw monumental scores, close fights and tumbling records. And that after a classic two-Test series of swinging fortunes that New Zealand drew 1-1.

So, the one-off Twenty20 International at Old Trafford on Tuesday, between two sides that have demonstrated entertaining, aggressive cricket, seems like a fitting way to end a spectacular tour.

With the ICC World Twenty20 taking place in India next year, the T20I provides England an opportunity to try players who are relatively new to international cricket, as they look to build a squad for the tournament.

In fact, England have chosen as many as five players who haven't made their T20I debuts. While Reece Topley, a left-arm seamer, and James Vince, a top-order batsman, were not a part of the ODI series, David Willey, Mark Wood and Sam Billings featured in the 50-over games and are set to debut in the shortest format.

A late addition to England's ODI squad, Bairstow, whose last T20I was in 2013, has been included for the T20I as well and is set to bolster the batting line-up in Jos Buttler's absence. Buttler was ruled out of the fifth ODI after splitting the webbing on his left hand during practice. With Joe Root and Ben Stokes likely to be rested, keeping in mind the gruelling summer ahead, England would be banking on a young batting line-up to come through a stern test.

New Zealand, meanwhile, would be disappointed with their ODI series loss after the high of being World Cup finalists. That their bowling attack was depleted - both Trent Boult and Corey Anderson were ruled out of the series due to back injury - will not be an excuse they will reach for. Following Daniel Vettori's retirement, Mitchell Santner has shown glimpses of potential, but has a long way to go. Nathan McCullum appeared in only one ODI on the tour.

Yet, Martin Guptill was confident of New Zealand's chances ahead of the twenty-over game.

"The series that just got over was fantastic. Unfortunately, we ended up on the wrong side, but the guys are still pretty confident, and are looking forward to tomorrow night," he said.

"Both teams have played excellent cricket right through the series - the Test matches and the ODIs. Hoping tomorrow's match is a great game."

Brendon McCullum had a quiet ODI series, scoring 101 runs across the five matches. But his exploits in the shortest format are well known and England would be keen to get him out early.

Compared to England's new-look batting line-up, New Zealand's is settled and experienced. Kane Williamson, Guptill, Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi have all formed the core of the batting in the shortest format.

One of the fastest pitches in England, Old Trafford offers plenty of bounce. Guptill was hopeful that it would be a good surface for batsmen and bowlers alike.

"So far, batsmen have dominated the matches we have played. [We] hope tomorrow is a great wicket too, and we have a close match with high scores."