The Kiwis will enter the 12th edition of ICC Cricket World Cup scheduled to start from 30th May, 2019 as the dark horses. They have earned the title keeping the statistics of performing above all odds and fighting till the very end of each edition of the tournament conducted. However, the Black Caps look ahead to finish the upcoming tournament on a positive note and seems ready more than any of its competitors.
First among the 10 participants to declare the squad for the prestigious tournament, the management and the fans back at home will expect a collective performance by them to outperform their opponents. With the form of individuals, not being a major concern, Coach Gary Stead and Captain Kane Williamson will work hard to put up a collective fruitful effort on English conditions.
With the recent statistics in limited over cricket specifying the struggle for the Blackcaps against the nations above them in ODI rankings- a conservative and sensible approach from the initial encounter will be on their radar.
Squad:- Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Tom Blundell, Colin De Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Jimmy Neesham, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.
Colin Munro, left-hander destructive batsmen gives a cushion to the squad as a back-up option for the opening pair. Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls, seen in some scintillating form against Bangladesh- the last official international assignment for the Black Caps will certainly be the first choice to repeat the same in the upcoming tournament. Guptill’s unbeaten 237 against the Windies in the QF of 2015 Cricket WC makes him the undisputed choice for the Kiwis in high intensity matches at the biggest stages.
The nation’s leading run-scorer & world’s 3rd best batsmen in ODI cricket, Ross Taylor who achieved the feat earlier this year in February surpassing Stephen Fleming will lead the charge of the middle-order batting line-up comprising the likes of Tom Latham, James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner.
Participating in his 4th WC, Ross appeared excited to begin the campaign right from the warm-up matches scheduled against one of the hot favourites India on the 25th May, 2019. Colin De Grandhomme, backed with strong batting credentials and his medium pace-swing deliveries, favouring the English conditions will be crucial at moments for the Kiwis to gain an competitive edge over its opposition. Tom Latham, owing to the recent issues arising over injury is set to miss the warm-up games against India and WI scheduled on May 25 and 28 which will pave the way for uncapped Tom Blundell to keep the wickets.
Focussing on the bowling unit, the NZ squad on paper appears to showcase a death over bowling problem as compared to its competitors like India (Bumrah) and SA (Rabada)- a dependent seamer is the missing link. The pace trio of Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult- though had an forgettable IPL season, boasts on some amazing figures which are enough to make them outperform and beat the opposition batsmen such as Virat Kohli, David Warner or Jos Butler.
Probable playing XI:- Kane Williamson ©, Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholl, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham/Tom Blundell (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
Key players:- Ross Taylor, Trent Boult, Tom Blundell.