Specialist’s class and Jos Buttler’s pyrotechnics two of the obstacles facing NZ on Friday

England's batsmen often provide the truffles of one-day international cricket; their form can be hard to find but, upon discovery and application, they are capable of transforming any bland recipe of a match with potent innings.

New Zealand will be conscious of this ahead of Friday's World Cup match in Wellington; their 2013 experience at Trent Bridge provides an example.

The visitors were in control of their dead rubber third ODI at 211 for five after 46 overs. Cue wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. He and current captain Eoin Morgan helped plunder 76 runs from the last four overs to annul New Zealand's chances of a clean sweep. Their sixth-wicket partnership of 62 came from 22 balls.

Buttler was the principal architect with 47 off 16 balls, enough to win man-of-the-match after facing 5.33 per cent of his team's deliveries. He was brutal hitting straight, either past the bowler or in the reverse 'V' behind the wicket with the "ramp", "scoop" and "reverse scoop". Myriad slower ball variations could not find a flaw.


Sage advice like "keep a high front elbow", "show the bowler the maker's name" and "it's a side-on game" was clobbered by a tennis-squash-baseball hybrid approach. Crouching directly in front of his stumps with a still head, Buttler tore into the New Zealanders with double-handed forehands, drop shots and boasts - using a bat instead of a racquet. His hand-eye co-ordination is hard to outwit.

After Buttler's Nottingham vigil, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum noted: "We were excellent for 90 per cent of [the match]. [But] on a ground like this, with a player as destructive as him, there is no room for error."

Coach Mike Hesson's 2013 reaction hinted at the key to analysis now. "He's the sort of guy we want in early, so he has to make more decisions than normal. If we can manage that, we can put him under pressure."

McCullum and Hesson have a more potent attack at their disposal with the graduation of Trent Boult and Adam Milne to the regular ODI ranks but the risk of complacency in the death overs will be under scrutiny. The video analysts will be stocking up on caffeine.

Buttler has the fastest ODI century by an Englishman with his 61-ball effort against Sri Lanka at Lord's in May. Of the current Kevin Pietersen-less team, opener Moeen Ali has the next fastest in 72 balls against Sri Lanka in November. The left-hander, known in some quarters as "The Beard To Be Feared", has a strike rate of 102 in 18 ODIs but is yet to play New Zealand.

However, England's batting has struggled in Australia this summer. With the exception of Ian Bell, no specialist averaged more than 37 or had a strike rate over 83 despite dispatching India twice to make the tri-series final against the hosts. Neither could they get momentum chasing 343 for victory against Australia in their World Cup opener.

Yet constructing a plan to bowl to Bell is recommended. Once lampooned by Shane Warne as the "Shermanator", in reference to the American Pie character, Bell has become one of the world's most respected batsmen. He averages 41.63 in 72 ODIs as an opener compared to 33.57 elsewhere during a 156-match career.

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