By Vanessa Papas
PREPARE for war as some of the greatest players in the world fight for their place in history. New Zealand will battle it out against England today to claim their weight in gold.
NICKNAMED the Black Caps, this powerhouse team first came face-to-face with England when they played their first Test in 1930 in Christchurch, becoming the fifth country to play Test cricket. It may have taken the team until 1955/56 to win a Test (against the West Indies at Eden Park in Auckland) but they’ve since cemented themselves as one of the greatest cricket teams in the world.
As of February 2016, New Zealand have played 408 Test matches, winning 83, losing 165 and drawing 160. They are currently ranked sixth in Tests, second in ODIs and second in T20Is by the ICC. Under the guidance of Head Coach Mike Hesson, the Black Caps are preparing to wage war against England, putting their strongest soldiers to battle, including the likes of Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls and Ish Sodhi. It’s guaranteed to be a nail-biting performance on both sides. When it comes to staying power, England close to matches New Zealand in strength, having won The Ashes on 32 occasions. The team has played 666 ODIs, winning 321, and its record in ODI tournaments includes finishing as runners-up in three Cricket World Cups (1979, 1987 and 1992), and two ICC Champions Trophies (2004 and 2013). The team has played 84 T20Is, winning 41, and won the ICC World Twenty20 in 2010. England is currently ranked fifth in Tests, sixth in ODIs and fourth in T20Is by the ICC.
In women’s cricket, the Southern Stars (aka Australia) are unbeatable, ranked first in all forms of women’s international cricket so it’s bound to get heated when they take on old enemy, England. Ironically, the Southern Stars also played their first Test match in 1934/5, when they lost to England two-nil in a three-Test series. They now compete against England for the Women’s Ashes. The Southern Stars have proven to be a formidable team, having won more World Cups than any other side – (winning in 1978, 1982, 1988, 1997, 2005 and 2013). The team has also be crowned champions of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament more than any other side (winning in 2010, 2012 and 2014). Despite a sterling reputation, Australia will have to bring on their best game if they want to beat England, who are just as hungry for the Cup. Under their captain, Charlotte Edwards, and coach is Mark Robinson, the England Women’s team showed their claws when they smashed Pakistan to reach the semi-finals, with an easy 68-run victory in Chennai.