Repeatedly labelled as the underdogs, New Zealand enter another tournament without much hype and have slipped under the radar. Defeat to Bangladesh in Ireland last month didn’t do their confidence any good, but with a number of key players returning to the side from the IPL, the Kiwis will be hopeful of beating England or their trans-Tasman rival Australia to seal atleast one of the two qualifying spot.
With some world class players in the squad and conditions which aren’t too dissimilar to their ones they encounter in New Zealand, the kiwis aren’t the side to be taken lightly.
Although the surfaces are expected to be batting friendly, the swing depends upon the weather conditions, and if that white Kookaburra ball is swinging during the Champions Trophy then there will perhaps be no greater threat than the likes of Trent Boult and Tim Southee.
In batting department, the talismanic skipper Kane Williamson’s unprecedented ability rotate strike and consistently rack up big scores is undoubted. In Martin guptill, the blackcaps have one of the most destructive white ball player of the modern game, who when fires can win them a match on his own.
The real strength though lies in the stack of all-rounder kiwis have in their squad. Corey Anderson, Mitchel Santner and the newcomer Colin-De-Grandhomme provides amazing balance to the overall composition of the team.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
New Zealand have always been known to punch above their weight, but this time the kiwis will have to do that consistently if they want to have any chance of winning the trophy. As stated earlier if the conditions are batting friendly and the bowl doesn’t swing, then the kiwi attack can go for plenty of runs as they lack any world class spinner or an outright extremely quick bowler who can make things happen on a lifeless surface.
Batting too is heavily reliant on the captain Kane and opener Martin Guptill. The kiwis tend to crumble in heap if these two batsmen don’t fire. New Zealand will be hoping for match winning performances from other upcoming stars like Tom Latham and the experienced Ross Taylor.
There are some very good players in the kiwi lineup, but one can’t look any further than the skipper Kane Williamson for being an X factor for the blackcaps. Class batsman has already showed in the past what he is capable of, and the team will be hoping that their leader to stand up on the big occasion of champions trophy.
The perennial dark horses have to yet again play out of their skins to muster wins against some heavy weights such as England and Australia. Any sane cricket expert won’t off New Zealand ever in big tournament, but the chances of them even making it to semis looks slim.
SQUAD: Kane Williamson (capt), Luke Ronchi (wk), Ross Taylor , Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Corey Anderson, Neil Broom, Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Adam Milne, Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jeetan Patel, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee
June 2 v Australia, Birmingham
June 6 v England, Cardiff
June 9 v Bangladesh, Cardiff