New Zealand Cricket

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After facing disappointment in the final stages of the last two Cricket World Cups, this edition represents the final opportunity for many members of the Black Caps to attain glory. However, concerns about their fitness have already cast a shadow over their 2023 campaign.

New Zealand Cricket

Here’s the squad:

  • Kane Williamson (c)
  • Trent Boult
  • Mark Chapman
  • Devon Conway
  • Lockie Ferguson
  • Matt Henry
  • Tom Latham
  • Daryl Mitchell
  • Jimmy Neesham
  • Glenn Phillips
  • Rachin Ravindra
  • Mitch Santner
  • Ish Sodhi
  • Tim Southee
  • Will Young

Their best tournament finish: Runners-up (2015, 2019)

While it might be tempting to dwell on the disappointing conclusions of the previous two World Cup campaigns, that would be an injustice to the exceptional cricket played by New Zealand throughout both tournaments.

Co-hosting the event with Australia and playing on their home turf all the way to the final, the Black Caps refused to succumb to the weight of expectations. They even defeated eventual tournament winners Australia in a thrilling match at Eden Park.

Eden Park also witnessed the now-legendary semi-final clash with South Africa, where Grant Elliott became the hero with a crowd-pleasing six in the final moments.

In the final against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, New Zealand found themselves struggling to make a mark right from the start. Mitch Starc’s third-ball beauty would have dismissed anyone in the tournament, including the all-time great Brendon McCullum, and the Australians ran away with the game.

Four years later, they reached the semi-finals again, this time triumphing over India in a nerve-wracking encounter.

The conclusion to the story is well-documented. Only a boundary countback separated England from New Zealand after the Super Over, leaving them as runners-up once more.

Upcoming Fixtures:

  • vs England (5 October), Ahmedabad
  • vs Netherlands (9 October), Hyderabad
  • vs Bangladesh (13 October), Chennai
  • vs Afghanistan (18 October), Chennai
  • vs India (22 October), Dharamsala
  • vs Australia (28 October), Dharamsala
  • vs South Africa (1 November), Pune
  • vs Pakistan (4 November), Bengaluru
  • vs Sri Lanka (9 November), Bengaluru
New Zealand Cricket
New Zealand Cricket

Key Match:

  • vs Pakistan (4 November), Bengaluru

Pakistan, another team with semi-final aspirations, is a likely hurdle that New Zealand will need to overcome in this year’s tournament. The Bengaluru match is crucial for New Zealand, followed by a final encounter with Sri Lanka at the same venue, making it another must-win game.

Both New Zealand and Pakistan face selection dilemmas, including the absence of a key fast bowler (Tim Southee with a hand injury and Naseem Shah out of the tournament). Additionally, both teams are in search of a spinner who can rise to the occasion. Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mitch Santner, and Ish Sodhi all have their strengths but face challenges in the 50-over format.

Both teams boast solid batting line-ups, led by captains Kane Williamson and Babar Azam. However, they require a batsman to accelerate either at the top or in the middle order. For New Zealand, Daryl Mitchell could be the X-factor in this match.

These teams are no strangers to each other, having clashed eight times in ODIs this year. Pakistan holds a 5-3 record over New Zealand, but it’s essential to note that all these matches were played on Pakistani soil during two series.

New Zealand Cricket

New Zealand Cricket Key Player: Trent Boult

New Zealand’s success in the tournament hinges on taking wickets when the ball is swinging, and Trent Boult is likely to be the early threat with his left-arm pace. The 34-year-old, despite choosing to focus on family and franchise cricket over a New Zealand contract, has consistently delivered for his country. With 39 wickets at an impressive average of 21.79 in Cricket World Cup matches, Boult remains a vital asset for New Zealand, especially in what may be his final World Cup appearance.

In Summary: Despite triumphing in the World Test Championship final in 2021, New Zealand’s men’s cricket team still feels the sting of two Cricket World Cup Final losses and their 2021 T20 World Cup Final defeat within eight years. This tournament likely represents the last chance for many in this generation of players to claim a World Cup title.

Injuries have disrupted their preparations, with Kane Williamson’s remarkable return after an ACL injury and the unfortunate absence of all-rounder Michael Bracewell. The absence of Bracewell has led to a change in strategy, with Mark Chapman and Rachin Ravindra brought in to provide left-arm finger spin, similar to Mitch Santner’s style. This means that the team may rely more on Glenn Phillips’ off-spin than expected.

Assuming Williamson is fit, the batting lineup appears solid, with Daryl Mitchell’s ability to boost the strike rate and Devon Conway’s versatility as key factors.

With 12 out of the 15 squad members aged over 30, this tournament marks a final hurrah for this generation of Black Caps. The team can take comfort in the fact that they will play three consecutive matches at the same venue three times, putting them in the select group of genuine World Cup contenders.

ALSO READ THIS:- England vs New Zealand, 1st Match CWC 2023

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