Runners-up of the 2015 ODI World Cup, Runners-up of the 2019 ODI World Cup, and Runners-up in the 2021 WT20 but yet to win a white ball tournament in the 21st century. New Zealand aka Blackcaps have lost more finals in the last 15 years than what all other teams (except India) have played in total, will the 2023 Cricket World Cup finally be their tournament?
New Zealand has been by far one of the most consistent teams in ICC events, they start their tournament as underdogs, perform consistently in group stages and reach knockouts with ease but lose to the eventual winners, this time the story is no different cricket pundits/experts do not count them as contenders but fans & opposition teams would not want to underestimate them.
Still, the road to this World Cup doesn’t seem easy for New Zealand, with multiple injuries, out-of-form fast bowlers, Kane Williamson not playing a single game since March and a lot more.
Kane Williamson (c), Mark Chapman, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Rachin Ravindra, Will Young, Mitchell Santner, Devon Conway, Tom Latham, Glenn Phillips, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi.
- Tim Southee is declared fit but Kyle Jamieson will join the squad in India as his cover.
- Michael Bracewell is injured & Henry Nicholls will feel unlucky to miss out.
Since the last One Day World Cup, New Zealand has won 23 out of their 42 ODIs and lost only 16 but the majority of these wins came against weaker sides or at home. In Asia, they’ve won only 4 out of 13 ODIs played & they’ve won only 5 out of 17 ODIs played against the big 3 [India, Australia, England] the teams that are contenders for this upcoming mega event and the teams that New Zealand will very likely face in the knockout stage which have been the main reason of why New Zealand didn’t win in previous events despite being most consistent side in group stages. But what is the reason behind this?? Why does a team with so much talent fail to perform against big teams? This leads us to their weaknesses.
Batting: A top 6 of Conway, Young, Kane, Latham, Mitchell, and Phillips might look very promising in this format but these players have not been able to perform consistently against big teams resulting in below-par totals and a lot of pressure on bowlers.
Spinners: Among all the major spinners participating in this World Cup, Mitchell Santner has the worst bowling average since 2020 in ODIs, while Ish Sodhi’s bowling average ranks 2nd worst after his partner (stats taken before Bangladesh vs New Zealand ODI series), this inability of their spinners to pick wickets in middle overs has allowed opposition teams to build partnerships and explode in death overs resulting in above par totals. Ish Sodhi did pick a 6 wicket haul against Bangladesh recently and New Zealand would like him to continue with this form.
Fast bowling: During their previous World Cup campaign in England, the fast bowling trio of Henry, Boult & Ferguson was by far the best pace bowling combination in the tournament. This time Adam Milne might get a chance ahead of Ferguson on recent form if Southee is ruled out due to injury but their fast bowling will still remain the key to going deep in the tournament. The comeback of Trent Boult in the international setup has lit up their performance as seen during the recently concluded ODI series in England. He picked a total of 8 wickets in 2 ODIs including 5 in powerplay. The best thing about New Zealand’s pace bowling attack is that all bowlers complement each other and the attack looks complete.
Probable Starting XI
- Devon Conway
- Will Young
- Kane Williamson (c)
- Tom Latham (wk)
- Daryl Mitchell
- Glenn Phillips
- Mitchell Santner
- Ish Sodhi
- Trent Boult
- Matt Henry
- Lockie Ferguson
Players to Watch Out For
The 26-year-old hard-hitting middle-order batsman was seen as a T20 specialist up until last year, then his performance in the T20 World Cup in Australia earned him a place in ODI setup and he responded well but is still looking for a career breakthrough innings. He helped New Zealand win the ODI series in Pakistan & scored some runs in England too but is yet to get a big innings. He’ll be keen to score some runs in the World Cup & earn the reputation of a big game player.
In August 2022, a piece of news came up as a surprise to all cricket fans around the world as Trent Boult who is one of the best all-formats cricketers at present asked the New Zealand cricket board to release him from the central contract. He wanted to play in T20 leagues around the world & many thought he would never play for New Zealand again or would it be correct to pick him for the World Cup team ahead of other players who continuously represented the Blackcaps while Boult was away?
Despite all this drama NZ picked him for the England series in August and he was by far their best bowler. Boult has an excellent record in ICC events picking up 39 wickets in 2 ODI World Cups, his performance with the new ball might very well decide New Zealand’s fate in this tournament.
New Zealand will start their tournament against England at Ahmedabad, a tough fixture to start with but then they’ll play Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan in consecutive games which may help them pick up the form before important matches v/s India/ Australia/South Africa. Overall New Zealand will play at a total of 6 venues with consecutive games at Chennai, Dharamshala and Banglore.
Afghanistan & Bangladesh might trouble them at M Chidambaram stadium but New Zealand would be expected to win those games.
We expect New Zealand to reach the Semifinals although it will definitely be a close call with Pakistan & South Africa.