The Blackcaps over the years have played the role of dark horses to perfection. The 2015 World Cup finalists have produced some of the most exciting cricket over the years. Be it the fastest hundred in test by Brendon McCullum or the then, fastest hundred in ODIs by Corey Anderson, the Kiwis have always kept the audiences across the world at the edge of their seats.
The Champions Trophy 2017 is a tough project, more so, compared to the other years, because you have only three games to find a place in the semi-finals. Also, the games have become heavily impulsive. Teams have game changers present in abundance. The Kiwis too aren’t lagging behind. It’s been 17 years since they last won an ICC event. Yes, they’ve been consistently trekking up and down the ICC rankings, but they haven’t gone on to win a silverware comprehensively.
CT 17 New Zealand Team Review: Underdogs Or Potential Contenders?
NEW ZEALAND IN THE CHAMPIONS TROPHY:
1998- QUARTER FINALS 2000- WINNERS 2002- GROUP STAGE 2004- GROUP STAGE 2006- SEMI-FINALS 2009- RUNNER’S-UP 2013- GROUP STAGE
The Kiwis on no occasion have entered a tournament as favourites, but their intrepid style of play has always helped them whizz past opponents. It’s been a year since Brendon McCullum called it quits. The responsibility has been handed over to Kane Williamson and he seems to have developed a firm liking towards it. A calm head, proactive participation, masterly reading of the game, impulsive decisions, planned dismissals are a few note worthy attributes the elegant batsman has developed.
CT 17 New Zealand Squad
NEW ZEALAND: Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Mitchell Santner, Luke Ronchi(wk), Tim Southee, Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Neil Broom, Martin Guptill, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, James Neesham, Jeetan Patel.
|June 2||Australia vs New Zealand||Edgbaston||9:30 (GMT) | 10:30 (Loacl) | 3:00 Pm (IST)|
|June 6||England vs New Zealand||CARDIFF||12:30 (GMT) | 1:30 (Loacl) | 6:00 Pm (IST)|
|June 9||Bangladesh vs New Zealand||CARDIFF||9:30 (GMT) | 10:30 (Loacl) | 3:00 Pm (IST)|
INCLUSIONS: Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne and Corey Anderson have been recalled after a considerably long spell on the sidelines. McClenaghan had a successful Indian Premier League, where his side, the Mumbai Indians went on to clinch their third title. He finished with 19 wickets, the 4th best this season. The tournament begins in earnest right form ball one. McClenaghan’s role in the squad will be to attack from the outset- his pace and swing in seamer friendly conditions might help New Zealand get the early break throughs, which can be consolidated upon by the rest of the attacking option they have.
McClenaghan in ODIs: Matches 48, Wickets 82, Economy 5.94.
Corey Anderson, from his U-19 days was known to be a massive striker of the ball. A 36-ball hundred at Queensland against the West Indies is truly a knock to behold. Since then, he's formed a topsy-turvy curve, as far as his form in international cricket’s concerned. An impressive outing in the Indian Premier League must have helped him gain some confidence- most of it which he’d definitely like to carry to the Champions Trophy. Anderson’s a vital cog in the Kiwi squad- if he replicates what Mr. Anderson does in the matrix, New Zealand are in with a major chance.
Since taking over the mantle, Williamson has had some tough series. A 3-2 series lost against India in the subcontinent, against South Africa at home, against Australia in Australia didn’t go according to plan. But, Kane Williamson has been doing what Kane Williamson does best. Scoring runs- scoring them ever so easily. Joe Root, Virat Kohli, Steven Smith and Kane Williamson are all counted under the same bracket. While all the four are mighty effective, Williamson looks the most pleasing to the eyes. Their mentality though is the same. Win games for their respective countries- dominate all three formats.
CAREER STATS: MATCHES 111, RUNS 4362, AVERAGE 45.91, STRIKE RATE 83.80
AS CAPTAIN: MATCHES 37, RUNS 1609, AVERAGE 47.32, STRIKE RATE 81.63
New Zealand TEAM COMBINATION:
The New Zealand batting line-up has a lot of variety. You have the flamboyant Martin Guptill at the top, who can accelerate at will. Tom Latham has been the most improved kiwi batsman. Latham has played some useful knocks for his country. He was at his effective best in India last year. In the recently concluded Ireland Tri-Nation series, Latham led the kiwis to a series victory. An impressive century(104) against Ireland- 84 against Bangladesh in the final ODI, was a testament of his character. Luke Ronchi and Latham would be competing for the spot behind the stumps. Ronchi hasn’t done his reputation any harm so far. His Innings in the warm-up game against India, might cause an headache for selection- the selectors however, wouldn’t mind a positive conundrum. Kane Williamson at number 3 is a sure-fire winner. Ross Taylor at 4 is a consistent run machine.
The all-rounders Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme can throw the kitchen sink. In this day and age, an hard hitting all-rounder is the need of the hour- New Zealand have 3 lumberjacks who really pack a punch with a willow in their hands. In Mitchell Santner the Kiwis have found an able left-arm orthodox.
The bowling department isn’t shoddy either. Trent Boult and Tim Southee have been there done that, for a decent amount of time. Adam Milne adds genuine pace to the bowling attack. Ish Sodhi Jeetan Patel and Mitchell Santner are the trio of spinners. While Santer is a certainty, the other two might find it tough to make it to the playing eleven. The New Zealand team isn’t the favourite to clinch the title, but, they aren’t pushovers either.