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Spirited New Zealand Have World Cup Pedigree

New Zealand will be hoping to go one better at the Cricket World Cup in 2019 after being beaten in the final four years ago.

The Black Caps enjoyed a strong tournament on home soil as well in Australia. They defeated South Africa in the semi-finals by four wickets before facing the Aussies in the final. Brendon McCullum’s men failed to rise to the occasion in the final, suffering a seven-wicket hammering.

New Zealand have been a solid outfit that have always punched above their weight. They have a lot of quality players that have made an impact in English conditions. Trent Boult could be the best weapon in the tournament, surging through opposing line-ups.

Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor have established themselves as two of the finest batsmen in the game, although there is talent behind them in the ranks as well. The Black Caps will be an interesting team to watch.

Squad

Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

Williamson leads a talented team

Overview

New Zealand often go under-the-radar at the World Cup, but they do have a fine record in the tournament, although they’re yet to claim the crown. The Black Caps have reached the semi-finals in seven out of the 11 competitions, reaching the final for the first time four years ago.

Williamson has a good team at his disposal entering the World Cup, fresh from recent victories over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. They were beaten handily by India, which does raise slight concerns about their performances against the elite teams. New Zealand were also beaten last year on home soil by England, although the one-off nature of the games will play into their hands.

In the Champions Trophy last season they failed to emerge from the group stage, losing to England and Bangladesh. English conditions should suit the Black Caps, especially Boult in the line-up. There are enough matchwinners in the team for New Zealand to do damage as proven by their victory over India in a warm-up match.

Boult led the assault and it could provide the formula for the Black Caps, using their most potent weapon in the modern-day game that’s dominated by the bat. The question is, do Williamson’s men have enough get to the knockout stage?

Key Players

Kane WilliamsonThe New Zealand skipper is a class act and will be the foundation of his side’s batting line-up. Williamson boasts an outstanding record in the ODI format, averaging 45.90 in his 139 matches for the Black Caps. The 28-year-old has scored 11 centuries and 37 half-centuries during his career, highlighting his value for the team.

He does not possess the scoring freedom of Jos Buttler along with the other power hitters of the game. However, like Joe Root and Steve Smith, he serves a valuable purpose in the order, grinding out the runs and rotating the strike.

Williamson allows the rest of the New Zealand line-up to play around. In English conditions where technique can be crucial in the opening overs of the innings, his presence will be a key factor. The 28-year-old has been excellent in his matches in England. In his 14 matches he averages 62.58, notching two centuries and seven half-centuries.

Williamson knows how to build an innings and those attributes will be vital to his team over the course of the tournament. Back him to lead the run column for New Zealand in the tournament at +175 with Bet365 and the entire World Cup at odds of +1600 .

Boult will be a decisive player

Trent Boult – Boult could be New Zealand’s most important player in the competition. The 29-year-old has been an outstanding performer at the highest level in his eight-year career. His statistics are impressive to say the least, averaging 24.70 with the ball. He proved his capabilities by removing India’s top order with ease during their warm-up match.

Boult has the talent to rip through any batting line-up in the competition, especially in English conditions where the subtle movement will aid his cause. The left-armer had a short stint with the Capitals in the Indian Premier League, and although he was not at the peak of his powers, the spell will have sharpened his skills ahead of the World Cup.

In the tournament four years ago, Boult claimed 22 wickets in his nine matches, leading the wicket column with Mitchell Starc. He does have a sense for the big occasion, although he was off colour in the Champions Trophy two years ago. There will be pressure on him to perform at the top of the innings – early inroads could be the key to victory. Boult delivers more often than not therefore back him to lead the way for the Black Caps at odds of +188   with Bet365 and the tournament again at odds of +1600 .

Prospects

New Zealand are in intriguing team and could be one of the sides that emerges out of nowhere to break into the semi-finals. Their recent record against the elite teams is not great, which does not suggest that they will be able to take down England, India, South Africa or even Australia. However, given that the matches are one-offs they have a chance to snatch one or two victories that could propel their charge towards the semi-finals. With Williams, Taylor, Martin Guptill and Tom Latham in their batting line-up they are capable of putting over 350 runs on the board.

Guptill top scored in the World Cup in 2015, although he has not been quite sharp against elite competition of late. Boult and Tim Southee will carry the burden for the bowling attack. Ish Sodhi is an interesting wildcard with his leg-spin. If the 26-year-old finds his form from the 20-over format it hands New Zealand another string to their bow. Their best shot is a semi-final berth therefore back them at odds of +260   with Bet365 to reach the last four.

cricket
cricket world cup
Kane Williamson
new zealand
Trent Boult

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