Kane will lead the way for the Black Caps

NZ Need Quality Inspiration In Champions Trophy

New Zealand will be aiming to go one further than their last venture in a international 50-over tournament in the ICC Champions Trophy.

The Black Caps were defeated in the final of the 2015 World Cup by Australia, with Mitchell Starc and Michael Clarke guiding the Baggy Greens to a comfortable victory.

Brendon McCullum is no longer a part of the Kiwis’ outfit, with Kane Williamson stepping into his role as his country’s key man.

The 26-year-old will carry the hopes and expectations of his team due to his outstanding talent with the bat. However, there is enough quality outside of the New Zealand skipper for the Black Caps to make a deep run in the competition.

The team have been in good form of late, defeating Australia and Bangladesh, while they also played out a close series against South Africa, losing 3-2 after suffering a defeat in the final match.

New Zealand’s key players should have no problems with rust after recently featuring in the IPL, with Williamson, Martin Guptill and Corey Anderson faring well in the tournament.

However, they will have to up the level of their performances to ensure they advance beyond the group stage, with England and Australia present and determined to advance to the semis themselves.

We’ll now break down the betting odds for the tournament and the players that will hold the key for the Black Caps’ hopes of progression.

Batting

Kane will lead the way for the Black Caps

Williamson is the pivotal player for the Black Caps in their hope of winning the competition for the first time since it was reformatted in 2002. New Zealand previously won the ICC Knockout Trophy in 200, but have nothing to show for consistency in recent years.

The 26-year-old has took over the mantle of the captaincy from McCullum in 2016 and has risen to the occasion by raising the standard of his game to an elite level. Williamson was already an excellent performer, but his displays since assuming the leadership have been outstanding.

His average of 45.90 in his 111 appearances is testament to his quality, while his eight centuries that he is more than capable of firing big scores. His last tour of England yielded huge scores so he will have no problem adjusting to conditions. Therefore backing him at +225   with PaddyPower is the option to take to top score for the Kiwis during the tournament.

Opener Guptill will push his captain all the way due to his power at the top of the innings. The 30-year-old is capable of destroying any bowling attack in the world on his day, making him a priority for opposing sides to remove him as early as possible.

He didn’t quite fire in the IPL, but with a high score of an unbeaten 237 and an average of 43.66 – the opener is a threat to rack up big runs every time he steps out on to the pitch. Guptill recently struck an unbeaten 180 in his side’s win over South Africa in Hamilton, highlighting the danger he poses to even the best of teams in the tournament.

Bowling

Boult's displays will be key for NZ

Trent Boult has carved out a reputation as one of the most consistent bowlers in the world. His left arm provides accuracy and pace that can trouble batsman up and down the order.

The 27-year-old will be right at home in English conditions and will be able to use swing and seam to his asset throughout the innings.

Boult has an extremely impressive average at 24.85 along with a strike rate of every 29.9 balls. The left-armer was excellent in his side’s series’ win over Australia, notching career-best figures of 6-33 in their victory in the third ODI in Hamilton.

However, he was far from his best against South Africa and may need to find his form in the 50-over format having spent the past month in India at the IPL. Even then he struggled to reach his best, notching six wickets in six matches for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Boult is a bowler suited for the English environment and should thrive in the setting of a major tournament. Therefore backing him at +275   with Betfair to lead the wicket column for the Black Caps would be a solid punt.

Mitchell Santner should provide competition for the 27-year-old to be the leading wicket taker for his team. The slow left arm bowler was put into an awkward place early in his career to replace the legendary Daniel Vettori, but he has begun to settle into his role.

He did struggle early on, but has now become a reliable performer for the Black Caps. The 25-year-old offers a change of pace from their plethora of quick bowlers, while he has proven that is capable of taking wickets along with offering the ability to hold down an end to keep the runs off the board.

Winners?

New Zealand have a strong team and will be a threat to go all the way, although the quality within Group A could halt their charge.

As a result, the Black Caps will have to be on form from the off, with the possibility of being eliminated as early as their second game should they lose their opener against Australia.

With Williamson and Guptill at the top of the order they have the ability to blast away their opponents and put up mammoth totals, while Corey Anderson is also able to smash the ball over the rope down the order to provide further impetus.

The pressure will come on the bowling unit to strike with regularity and keep the runs off the board.

Boult is a world-class operator, but beyond him there is doubt that Santner, Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan will be able to provide the quality depth needed to make a run for the title.

Therefore approaching the Black Caps’ odds to win the tournament with caution may be the best option, with a good value at +1000   available with SportingBet. England and Australia will provide a stern test in Group A – with their odds of +400   with Marathon Bet worth a slight punt for value.

Tips Summary

New Zealand To Win ICC Champions Trophy
June 1st – June 18th 2017
Odds: +1000

New Zealand To Win ICC Champions Trophy Group A
June 1st – June 18th 2017
Odds: +400

Trent Boult To Be New Zealand’s Top Bowler
June 1st – June 18th 2017
Odds: +275

Kane Williamson To Be New Zealand’s Top Batsman
June 1st – June 18th 2017
Odds: +225

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