The World Cup Chronicles: High-flying Kiwis are “dark horses”




Blame their low population or the outstanding conduct of players, New Zealand are the least talked about cricket team in the world. However, come the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, this premise will be a huge advantage for the Kiwis, who could become a menacing force to be reckoned with. With bigwigs like Australia, India and South Africa gunning for the title, the “sidelined” Kiwis can peacefully work towards the greatest achievement in their cricketing history.

The World Cup Chronicles: High-flying Kiwis are “dark horses”

The World Cup Chronicles: High-flying Kiwis are “dark horses”

Home advantage is something that can never be ignored in a big tournament, be it the conditions or crowd. New Zealand have won nine out of their previous 14 ODI matches, which includes two series wins over Sri Lanka and Pakistan. However, it is not just the circumstances that make New Zealand a tournament contender. The Kiwis, in the past season, have managed to put together a group of cricketers that has all the boxes ticked, starting from talent and ending at experience.

Also Read: ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 schedule and complete fixtures

In Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum, New Zealand have a near perfect opening combination capable of destroying any bowling attack. McCullum, in particular, is one of the most respected batsmen in the world and could write his own script in the tournament. Though the Black Caps have a solid opening partnership, their middle order is what makes them a more than formidable opposition.

Kane Williamson, with respect to both form and talent, is at par with Steven Smith and Virat Kohli at the moment. Add to that, he is in devastating form (last five innings – 112, 54, 97, 26, 103) and playing at home is bound to give Williamson the necessary impetus to shine on the big stage. While Grant Elliot might not be exactly world-class, his usefulness cannot be undermined. In Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi, New Zealand have real firepower that enables them to go on and get big scores batting first.

Correy Anderson, Kyle Mills and Nathan McCullum are all-rounders that might just prove to be a difference between New Zealand and other teams at the World Cup. Anderson, in patches, has shown why he is one of most dangerous in the world when on song. Though not equal, New Zealand have a superb bowling attack to balance the batting. Luckily for them, Daniel Vettori is back and could prove to be a superb asset in crunch situations.

Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan and Tim Southee form a deadly pace trio that contains all elements of fast bowling (pace, swing and control) covered. Most importantly, Boult’s left-hand swing bowling and McClenaghan’s pace, combined with Southee’s experience, will be a huge asset for the Kiwis.

Despite all the strength, New Zealand, without any doubt, will have to play out of their skins to lift the trophy. However, a bit of luck, some individual brilliance and home advantage could well prove to be the push that the Kiwis need.

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