New Zealanders at their best

February 7, 2016

New Zealanders at their best

They have never won any major title in history -- neither in One-day Internationals (though they came very close to it last year), nor in the new T20 format. But this time they have very very strong chances of winning when the World Twenty20 takes place in India in March and April.

The New Zealanders beat the reigning world t20 champions Sri Lanka in the beginning of this year and then demolished Pakistan by big margins in the second and the third matches after losing the first one by a small margin. They lost to Pakistan by 16 runs in the first match, but thrashed the visitors in the second by 10 wickets and in the third by 95 runs.

The team that has been announced for world event has some of the best batsmen in the world in the shortest format of the game. Kane Williamson has been in the form of his life, amassing runs against all opponents for the last two years. Similar have been the performances of Martin Guptill in the same period. He has the distinction of scoring a T20 century against South Africa in South Africa.

The way Corey Anderson plundered the Pakistani bowling in the third T20 game in Wellington was a good indicator of what he can do on batting friendly pitches of India: 82 runs off 42 balls, with six fours and four sixes. Remember he is the one who broke Shahid Afridi’s record of fastest ODI hundred which had lasted 17 years.

Ross Taylor provides experience in the middle of their batting order. And he has done excellently in India before. He averaged more than 64 runs in 2011 World Cup. Who can forget how he hammered Pakistani bowlers in their group match, ripping apart an attack that included Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi.

They have got a hugely talented No 3 batsman in Colin Munro whose strike rate is a staggering 159.

New Zealand also have a highly potent pace attack. Their spearhead Tim Southee has been among the leading wicket-takers in the world for many years. With an unassuming action, he manages a decent pace and has great control over his line and length. With yorkers his most lethal weapon, he will be extremely beneficial to the team in the death overs.

The pace attack is bolstered by Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne who have all done well recently. Boult was instrumental in New Zealand’s journey to the final in World Cup 2011. He was the joint highest wicket-taker with Mitchell Starc.

And to utilize the spin-friendly wickets of India the selectors have picked as many as three spinners for the World T20. Slow left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner has done well in the few matches that he has played. Nathan McCullum provides the experience to the spin attack with his off-spin. India-born Ish Sodhi is also likely to serve New Zealand well.

Considering all these facts, one may safely say that New Zealand are among the favourites -- if not the favourites -- this time.

New Zealanders at their best