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Tom Latham hoping to pull off ‘special victory’ in ODI series decider

New Zealand are unbeaten in ODI cricket at the Hagley Oval.

Tom Latham is still hoping to have Ross Taylor on hand again to help him pull off another “special” victory over England at the Hagley Oval.

Latham has already played a significant role alongside match-winner Taylor in two New Zealand successes over the past two weeks, sharing crucial middle-order stands of 178 in Hamilton and 187 in Dunedin to level the one-day international series at 2-2.

New Zealand will make a last-minute decision on Taylor’s fitness for Saturday’s decider after he aggravated his thigh injury during his career-best 181 not out two days ago.

Reflecting on Taylor’s brilliance in Dunedin, Latham said: “That innings was pretty special – (something) you don’t see very often.

“In the situations we’ve come together, we’ve been under a bit of pressure and needed to build a partnership.

“If we are in that position again, I hope we can do the same.”

It will be a significant achievement for the hosts if they can stop in-form England recording a sixth successive ODI series win.

“It would be very special,” added Latham.

“They are a great side that keeps coming, and they have a lot of all-rounders.

“On the other hand, we’ve been playing some good cricket this summer – and if we can continue that, I hope we can get one up.”

Latham has been named one of two New Zealand XI captains for next week’s back-to-back warm-up matches against England in Hamilton before the first Test.

He will take charge of the first one, starting next Tuesday when a pink ball will be used for the two-day floodlit fixture at Seddon Park, and opener Martin Guptill will then take over.

The second match will revert to red ball, even though the first Test in Auckland the following week is a day-night encounter.

Taylor has also been selected for the second fixture in his home town, despite his injury concerns.

Cricket – NatWest International T20 – England v New Zealand – Emirates Old Trafford

New Zealand’s white-ball opener Colin Munro has announced, meanwhile, that he is to concentrate solely on the shorter formats.

Following the similar decisions made of late by England pair Alex Hales and Adil Rashid, Munro will sit out the remainder of the domestic first-class season – and will also therefore not feature against England in Hamilton.

The big-hitting left-hander said: “I’m still 100% committed to playing for the Black Caps and Auckland Aces in the shorter formats and have some big goals I’d like to achieve in the next couple of years.

“Obviously, with the World Cup next year, I’d love to give myself the best chance of making that squad – and that’s where my main focus is.”

New Zealand v England in Hamilton March 14-15 (Pink-ball match): T Latham (Captain), T Blundell (wkt), C de Grandhomme, K Jamieson, S Kuggeleijn, H Nicholls, S Rance, J Raval, M Santner, N Smith, I Sodhi, G Worker

New Zealand v England in Hamilton March 16-17 (Red-ball match): M Guptill (captain), L van Beek, T Blundell (wkt), D Bracewell, M Chapman, S Kuggeleijn, G Phillips, S Rance, T Seifert, I Sodhi, R Taylor, G Worker

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