Durham    -   As the league stage of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 reaches its twilight, hosts England and 2015 runners-up New Zealand look to confirm a spot in the semi-finals as they face off at The Riverside Durham on Wednesday, 3 July.

An ultra-aggressive batting approach, smart bowling aided by some shrewd captaincy and vibrancy in the field - England’s performance during their 31-run win against India reminded everyone of their dominance in one-day cricket over the last four years, and the potential they hold in this format. Roy’s return has instantly bolstered England, as he resumed his imperious opening partnership with Jonny Bairstow against India, where the duo put on 160 for the first wicket. Against a tough opponent in New Zealand, in what could potentially be a virtual quarter-final, England will need to bring in similar intensity.

New Zealand, after being unbeaten for the first six matches, come into this game after back-to-back losses against Pakistan and Australia. While the bowlers have delivered on each occasion, the consistent failures of the opening batsmen have left Kane Williamson and the middle order to do the heavy lifting. New Zealand need Martin Guptill to fire, much like he did in the 2015 edition, where he had emerged as the leading run-scorer of the tournament.

As of this moment, it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine New Zealand not making the semi-finals, given they have a strong net run rate. Even so, they would want to finish off well, as a heavy defeat could possibly rest their qualification chances on the performances of Pakistan and Bangladesh, and their clash on Saturday.

Ben Stokes, the New Zealand-born England all-rounder, has scored four fifties this tournament, with the last one against India proving to be a game-changing difference. With his grit and aggressive stroke-play, Stokes might once again be a key player for England in a must-win game.

Ross Taylor, alongside Kane Williamson, has been leading the New Zealand batting at this World Cup. Taylor, who has already scored five centuries against England, including a match-winning 181*, which is also his career best, in a run-chase of 335 in their last meeting at Dunedin, will look to register another big score against one of his favourite opponents on Wednesday.

A fine day is expected in Durham, with good sunny spells, although there could be a partial build-up of cloud and some gentle winds in the middle of the day.

Teams batting second have won three of the last four ODIs played at The Riverside Durham, with the last one being won by Sri Lanka by a narrow margin of 23 runs, defending 338 against West Indies on Monday.