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England up against it in 1st ODI with New Zealand


Hosts prepare for first of five ODIs with ICC World Cup runners-up New Zealand, starting off at Edgbaston

Despite being visitors from across the opposite side of the world, New Zealand are the firm odds-on favourites (best priced with Betfred at 8/13) to beat England (6/4 with Paddy Power) in the first of five ODIs.

Players from the two teams will meet again, this time at Edgbaston, after the recent two-Test series, which the Black Caps levelled at Headingley, and following the ICC World Cup, where the Kiwis were runners-up.

In that tournament Down Under, New Zealand smashed England in the group stages too, defeating them by eight wickets after chasing down a tame target of just 123 after 12.2 overs, and the latter now look even more depleted.

The likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ian Bell, Gary Ballance, Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara and James Tredwell have not been called up, in another interesting move by the ECB.

However, England stars such as Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Ben Stokes, James Taylor and skipper Eoin Morgan should all feature.

Yorkshireman Root, in particular, will be the hosts’ main man once more, after a terrific series in the Tests, and he top scored with 46 for his team at the World Cup in the loss against New Zealand. He is best priced with StanJames and Betway at 4/1 to top score for England once more.

Super smasher Hales is the same price with BetVictor, while captain Morgan is a 17/2 chance with Paddy Power free bet to get some form under his belt.

In the bowling department, leg spinner Adil Rashid will be hoping to impress and try edge his way into the Ashes side against Australia following this series. The Yorkshire all-rounder is 5/1 with to be best England bowler.

Others that are possible threats with the ball are Finn, Stokes and Mark Wood, who are best priced in the same market at 7/2, 11/2 and 4/1 with too.

For New Zealand, captain Brendon McCullum hit the crucial 77 off just 39 balls at the World Cup to down England, and is 7/2 with SkyBet and Paddy Power to be best batsman for his team again.

Top scorer at the finals Martin Guptil is the same price, with a number of bookies, while Kane Williamson is also 7/2 with StanJames.

Star bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee will be their main attacking threat, and are respective 5/2 and 7/2 shouts with to be best with the ball for the Black Caps.

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