New Zealand reached the semifinals six times but the trophy has eluded it
The Kiwis have been consistent performers at the World Cup, but a trophy has proved elusive. New Zealand has reached the semifinals on six occasions, and in the last edition, made a terrific run to the final.
In the summit clash, against host Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, New Zealand was outclassed. The mighty Aussies posted a seven-wicket victory, shattering their neighbour’s hopes of clinching a maiden World Cup title.
Saddle up again
And thus, it is time to saddle up once again in search of silverware.
Kane Williamson, who showed tactical acumen to lead Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to the Eliminator round in the recent Indian Premier League, is an able captain. Williamson is also a key part of the batting line-up, alongside Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor.
The hard-hitting Guptill is a big threat at the top of the order, as evidenced by his back-to-back ODI centuries against Bangladesh a few months ago. If Guptill gets going, an explosive start is assured.
He is likely to open the innings with Henry Nicholls, with Colin Munro available as the reserve option.
The experienced Taylor, the nation’s highest run-getter at the World Cup, is in tremendous form as well. In his last match, he scored a double hundred in a Test innings victory over Bangladesh.
Williamson, meanwhile, struggled at the start of IPL campaign, but came good with an unbeaten 70 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the later stages. The trio of Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme complete the middle-order.
The squad is without the services of Corey Anderson, who not too long ago, had established himself as the nation’s premier all-rounder. Anderson’s struggles with injuries and form has allowed de Grandhomme to take his spot.
de Grandhomme, however, is yet to consistently showcase destructive hitting power — a trait so crucial for someone who dons the finisher role.
Boult leads the attack
If the English pitches offer movement, the pacers can run riot.
Trent Boult, the joint-highest wicket-taker at the 2015 World Cup (alongside Mitchell Starc), leads the attack.
Boult may have got only five games with Delhi Capitals in the IPL, but he has been on target in national colours. In ODIs in 2019, the left-arm fast bowler has taken 21 wickets, at an impressive average and economy rate of 20.57 and 4.56 respectively.
His partners Tim Southee and Matt Henry have not been as menacing, but given the right conditions, they could prove to be a handful. Southpaw Mitchell Santner is the first-choice spinner, while leggie Ish Sodhi could be called to action if the pitch assists the spinners.
The side is fourth in the ICC ODI rankings, boosted by comprehensive series wins over West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
A 4-1 defeat to India earlier this year, however, showed that there are chinks in the armour.
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