The best chance for New Zealand to end World Cup jinx
Six semifinal appearances over 10 World Cups make the Kiwis one of the most consistent sides at cricket’s showpiece event. But what it does not tell you is that they have never progressed to the final, let alone win the trophy.
So, as we build up to the 2015 World Cup, the question that is on every New Zealand fan’s mind is whether Brendon McCullum’s men can buck the trend and set the record straight this time time around on home soil or will they again flatter to deceive and fizzle out when it matters the most.
Home advantage and solid batting lineup
For starters, one can expect the home crowd to really get behind them. Home advantage can be a real asset as we saw in the last World Cup when India triumphed in front of their own crowds. The Black Caps come into the tournament with a squad full of match winners and have all bases covered.
They are led by the mercurial and hard-hitting batsman McCullum, who can win matches on his own when he strikes it big. But all eyes will be on Kane Williamson, the young batsman who is one of the best ODI players in the world currently along with AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Hashim Amla. He can very well end up being the tournament’s highest run scorer.
Add to that, the likes of Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill and Tom Latham and you have a good batting order to boot. However, New Zealand are also blessed to have good all-rounders at their disposal. The experienced Grant Elliot, the explosive Corey Anderson and wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi can all win matches on their own.
Good mix of youth and experience in the bowling
New Zealand also have a very good fast bowling attack. Tim Southee and Trent Boult are two bowlers that any side in the world would love to have. Apart from this, they also have Adam Milne who can surprise many with his pace and swing. Mitchell McClenaghan is another exciting prospect in the offing. One must not forget the wily Kyle Mills who is also a class act.
In the spin department, they have Daniel Vettori, who is playing his last ICC event and would like to show that he’s still got it. Partnering Vettori will be Nathan McCullum who is a good bowler in limited overs cricket and can be a pretty handy batsman lower down the order as well. All in all, one can say that Mike Hesson’s side are a well-knit unit, equipped adequately in all departments.
The last time New Zealand hosted a World Cup was in 1992 when a Martin Crowe-led side dominated the group stage, winning 7 out of their 8 matches, only to lose out to Imran Khan’s Pakistan in the semifinals. Eight years later, the Kiwis won the ICC Knockout Trophy, which is still the only ICC tournament they have won.
The 2015 World Cup presents them with the perfect chance to clinch the 50-over World Cup. On paper, they have one of the best sides going into the tournament, but as we all know cricket is a funny game and anything can happen on the given day.