New Zealand has had a fantastic ODI team for well over a decade. The Kiwis made it to the 2015 ICC World Cup final but their cricket team came up short after they were outplayed by arch-rivals Australia.
They go into the 2019 ICC World Cup as strong contenders and most betting sites, like Bet365, have them down at 10/2. There’s no doubt that New Zealand have a talented bunch of players that are quite capable of beating anyone on their day.
However, the Kiwis will need consistency and hope their batting and bowling departments fire simultaneously if they are going to beat the top teams like England, Australia and India.
We take a look at the key factors that will determine how well the Kiwis perform in England.
Kane Williamson – Captain & Batsman
Batsman: When it comes to test cricket, Kane Williamson is considered one of the best batsman in the world, right up there with the likes of Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and Joe Root. However, his batting isn’t quite as feared in the shorter formats of the game because he is not regarded as a power hitter.
Williamson will have a big role to play in England as he has the best technique in the side. He will need to anchor the innings or the Kiwis could be scuttled out, especially if the conditions offer a lot of swing. When Williamson gets in, he has the ability to make big scores, and that will allow some of the other hard hitting Kiwi batsmen to fire.
Captain: Williamson is considered to be one of the best tactical captains in the game. He will have to ensure that he gets his team selection right, his batting order correct, and outsmarts his opposition. This is going to be essential because New Zealand don’t have the firepower other sides do. The tactical brilliance of Williamson, and his ability to get the best out of his players, will therefore be crucial.
Fast Bowling Combination
Bolt And Southee: Tim Southee and Trent Boult are one of the most dangerous fast bowling combinations in world cricket. They are going to play a crucial role because English conditions will suit their style of bowling. For the Kiwis, it is critical that both bowlers hit their straps early on in the tournament and stay injury free.
Boult and Southee have a lot of experience bowling together, but it will be interesting to see who Williamson uses as his third seamer. The other two seamers selected in the squad of 15 are Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry. The latter’s experience playing for Kent may give him the edge.
Power Hitters: Hit or Miss
One of the reasons why England has become such a powerful ODI team is because they have some great power hitters at the top of the order. New Zealand also have some fantastic hitters at the top in Colin Munro and Martin Guptill. They also have Colin de Grandhomme who comes in towards the end of the innings.
The problem for New Zealand is that all three of them have been very inconsistent. New Zealand will need them to get the job done as this could decide how far they go in the World Cup.
Contribution From All-Rounders
New Zealand have picked Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner in their squad of 15. All three of them can be considered all-rounders. It is very likely that two of these three players will play all the games, and quite possible that all three could feature in the same XI at some point.
The Kiwis will want their all-rounders to fire with both bat and ball as otherwise there progress could be limited. I can see them making it to the quarter-finals or semi-finals before being eliminated by the more powerful teams.
Having said that, New Zealand have caused several upsets in past World Cups and they remain a dangerous side. If everything clicks, and Williamson finds form, then they could go all the way to the final.