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Cricket news - Ready reckoner: New Zealand
Why should you support them?
Because they are cricket's 'good boys'. It won't be far-fetched to say that New Zealand are the second most supported team by fans after their respective home teams. That's because of the way they play their cricket - honesty, playing in the right spirit, and a no-nonsense approach. Their skipper is a personification of that while there are also several such players in their line-up who bring these qualities to the field of cricket.
What's their game plan?
Their batting would revolve around three of their top four scoring the bulk of the runs. Since the end of the last World Cup, Ross Taylor has been in tremendous form, scoring close to 3000 runs at an average of nearly 70 with eight hundreds in the said period. Williamson and Guptill have also scored more than 2500 runs, with 14 hundreds between them and the onus will be on these three to serve as the backbone in the batting department.
Trent Boult, one of only four to have picked up in excess of 100 wickets since the end of the previous World Cup, will be expected to replicate his 2015 form and should there even be a hint of assistance, his performance in the warm-up game against India would serve as how effective he can be. With Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry providing the zip, New Zealand will bank on their pacers to restrict teams while the abundance of all-rounders provides the extra fire-power in all departments.
Which player should you get excited about?
James Neesham, and it's not just for his witty remarks on social platforms. Playing his first ODI in nearly two years when he featured in the series against Sri Lanka at the start of this year, Neesham showcased his devastating abilities with the bat and how good a finisher he can be. With the 2019 World Cup expected to be played on batting-friendly wickets, Neesham can unleash mayhem in the death overs.
Which of their fixtures should you not miss?
If you were to rewind to the 2015 semifinal clash at the Eden Park, you may recollect it as one of the best knockout games ever seen in the World Cup. Runs, wickets, cameos and contrasting emotions, at the end of all that there was one team which was again left heart-broken in a World Cup semifinal. So mark this date on your calendar - Wednesday, the 19th of June - when South Africa might have some scores to settle with New Zealand. Saturday, the 29th of June, should also excite you considering that New Zealand themselves will have unfinished business when they take on Australia, who denied them their first World Cup Trophy back in 2015.
What are their chances?
Considering that New Zealand have made it at least to the semifinals in each of their last three editions of the World Cup, anything less than that in 2019 would be considered a disappointment. They also know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in a World Cup that involved playing against all teams. "I guess there's been a lot of talk around rankings, favourites, underdogs, but I think the thing that stands out is how balanced all the teams are and, when it comes to the day, anything can happen, which makes the way for a really exciting competition," Williamson had said during the captains' interaction with the media in the build-up to the World Cup. If anything, 'exciting competition' would be a good way to sum up what New Zealand bring to the table in the 12th edition of the tournament.
Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Latham, Ish Sodhi
June 1: v Sri Lanka at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (D)
June 5: v Bangladesh at Kennington Oval, London (D/N)
June 8: v Afghanistan at The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton (D/N)
June 13: v India at Trent Bridge, Nottingham (D)
June 19: v South Africa at Edgbaston, Birmingham (D)
June 22: v West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester (D/N)
June 26: v Pakistan at Edgbaston, Birmingham (D)
June 29: v Australia at Lord's, London (D/N)
July 3: v England at Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street (D)
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