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New Zealand – The Dark Horses

The runners up in the previous world cup, New Zealand come into this World Cup as one of the dark horses. They might not be one of the big names in this tournament but they are the only side to have played three fixtures and won all three.

This New Zealand therefore requires some analysis as to how much of a threat they pose to the defending champions as well as the rest of the teams.

Opening Partnership

Martin Guptill & Colin Munro
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Openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro form a formidable opening pair. Munro on his day can be as explosive as any batsman.

However, New Zealand will be wary that Munro tends to misfire more often than be explosive. That inconsistency could be a problem in the bigger crunch games against better sides who will look to expose that vulnerability.

Martin Guptill on the other hand is far more assured and vastly experienced. Ever since the end of the 2015 world cup, Guptill has average 50.01 at a strike rate of 94.7.

He has scored nine centuries in the 61 games he has played, more than in the previous 108 games of his career. Guptill seems to be aging like fine wine and with the natural talent and elegance the man possesses, he will be a thorn in the side of the opposition.

Middle Order
Williamson averages 47.01 since the last World Cup, and is ranked equal 11th in the world. Although he hasn’t been as spectacular as Guptill and Taylor, he has still been extremely solid, scoring five centuries in that time.

Also, thanks to his IPL experience, he is much better at hitting, staying calmer and more professional, and no longer simply relies on being hard to get out.

Williamson & Ross Taylor
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Some might argue that Ross Taylor has a claim to being one of New Zealand’s finest one-day batsmen. At the start of the 2015 World Cup, Taylor had 12 ODI centuries at an average of 41.75. Since the 2015 World Cup, Taylor has averaged a phenomenal 68.85, with eight centuries.

His position as the greatest Kiwi one-day batsman ever is now certain, with Williamson the only possible challenger. His career average is now over 48, and if he continues in anything like the same form it will soon be 50.

Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson are the pillars of the New Zealand middle order and their form with the bat will play a huge role in how far NZ progress in this tournament.

Though Jimmy Neesham has been in and out of the team in recent years, his recent World Cup performances suggest that he has found a good vein of form. Ever since his comeback to the side, he has played eight matches, he has averaged 68 with the bat and 22.90 with the ball. Incredibly clean hitting has been a feature of his presence in the middle order.

He has started the WC incredibly well and will look to cement his spot in the playing eleven.

Colin De Grandhomme
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Colin de Grandhomme is a bit of an enigma in this Black Caps side. Despite being capable of massive hitting and incisive bowling, he remains a distinctly hit and miss player, especially with the ball.

He has only spent three seasons in the team, but has scored over 400 runs at an average of 29 and strike rate of 110. His all-round ability will certainly be an asset in this WC, along with his experience playing in the IPL.

The place of Daniel Vettori has been taken up unerringly by the spectacled Mitchell Santner who has cemented a place in the Black Caps ODI side thanks to frugal spin bowling and big hitting from the lower order.

Early last year he had an ODI bowling ranking of 7th, thanks to a truly miserly economy rate of 4.68 over his last 50 games. He also averages a handy 27.53 with the bat, and a more than handy 32.30 over the past two seasons.

At his favoured position of 8 he averages 37.73. More than adept with both bat and ball, Santner will be an asset to this New Zealand side if they are to win this WC.

The Bowling attack
Trent Boult
has solidly established himself as New Zealand’s premiere new ball bowler. He is rightly ranked 2nd in the world, behind only Jasprit Bumrah.

Trent Boult
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Since the end of the last World Cup, he has taken 107 wickets at an average of 24.59. Boult is getting some of his deliveries up to 145km/h, without losing any of the accuracy that he is known for. This makes him even more dangerous than before, and will be a threat to be reckoned with.

Matt Henry has taken 55 wickets since the last CWC, at an average of 29.72. Henry is currently ranked 14th in the world in ODIs, notably ahead of Dale Steyn (16th) and Mitchell Starc (22nd), and was in the top 10 last time he had an extended run in the side.

Along with fellow paceman Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult, they form a formidable trifecta of attacking fast-bowling.

The leading wicket-taker in this tournament so far, Lockie Ferguson is the latest addition to the Black Caps seam battery. Over the past two years, he has been impressive, taking 38 wickets at an average of 23.76.

Those are good enough numbers to have seen him climb to 21st in the world rankings, higher than even Mitchell Starc. Although he is still raw, some of the deliveries he puts down would have made Shane Bond proud.

His experience in the IPL with the Knight Riders will also prove invaluable as his side will look to go one better in this World Cup.

So the question raises – Does the New Zealand will win this world cup with the amazing team?

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