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World T20 team preview: New Zealand

15 March 2016

New Zealand have a squad packed with power and pace // Getty

Louis Cameron


@LouisDBCameron

Louis Cameron


@LouisDBCameron

The Black Caps have a poor history in the tournament, but this squad is capable of bucking that trend

Tournament history

2007: Semi-final (lost to Pakistan by six wickets)

2009: Group stage

2010: Group stage

2012: Group stage

2014: Group stage

Despite a semi-final appearance in the inaugural tournament, New Zealand have largely struggled at the ICC World Twenty20. Narrow victories against the Netherlands and England were offset by losses to Sri Lanka and South Africa in the 2014 World T20, confining them to another group stage exit. Their performances come as somewhat of a surprise, considering their strong record at the ODI World Cup.

Highest run-scorer: Brendon McCullum, 2140 runs @ 35.66, SR: 136.21, HS: 123

Highest wicket-taker: Nathan McCullum, 55 wickets @ 22.85, econ: 6.90, BB: 4-16

Best-ever XI: Brendon McCullum (c), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Jacob Oram, Luke Ronchi (wk), Nathan McCullum, Dan Vettori, Tim Southee, Shane Bond, James Franklin (12th man).

Recent form

Since the 2014 World T20: Played 13, won eight, lost five.

WATCH: Munro smashes second-fastest T20 fifty

New Zealand have developed into a strong side in the shortest format, having won five of their last six T20 Internationals as well as eight of their 13 games since the last World T20. They notched convincing series wins against Pakistan (2-1) and Sri Lanka (2-0) on home turf, and it was through those series that their top order really showed just what a damaging prospect they've become. In five matches, Kane Williamson made 260 runs at a strike-rate of 126.83, Martin Guptill scored 252 at 181.29, while Colin Munro finished with 146 runs in four innings at the remarkable strike-rate of 208.57. Munro's 14-ball half-century (see video above) bettered the Kiwi record for the fastest-ever T20 fifty, breaking the mark of 19 balls set by Guptill earlier in the same innings. But while their recent home form has been impressive, the conditions they’ll face in India will throw up a different set of challenges. In particular, their ability to get off to flying starts with the bat will be challenged in subcontinental conditions, where spin, especially in the Powerplay, will be more difficult to get away.

Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor

Best XI: Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Corey Anderson, Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Luke Ronchi (wk), Nathan McCullum, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.

Player to watch

With the recent retirement of former skipper Brendon McCullum, New Zealand will be looking for Martin Guptill to stand up. The opener has an excellent T20 record, with 1666 T20 International runs at 34.70 and a strike-rate of nearly 130. Guptill is third on the all-time T20 leading run-scoring list (behind McCullum and Tillakaratne Dilshan) and the Kiwis will be relying on him to get them off to some fast starts. He has a modest record at previous World T20s but showed at last year’s ODI World Cup that he can deliver at major tournaments.

Quick Single: NZ top order poses serious threat: McMillan

Prediction

This Black Caps squad appears to have most bases covered. They will be without Brendon McCullum, but they won’t be McCullum-less. Brother Nathan McCullum is New Zealand’s all-time leading wicket taker in Twenty20 Internationals and his accurate off-spin will certainly come in handy in India. Fellow spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner will compete with McCullum for spots in this even New Zealand squad. 

Quick Single: McCullum warns against spin tunnel vision

New captain Kane Williamson will open the batting alongside Guptill and in Colin Munro and Corey Anderson, the Kiwis have two explosive middle-order batsmen. Experienced quicks Trent Boult and Tim Southee will lead the bowling attack while Adam Milne has the ability to hit speeds around 150 kph. With games against Australia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, New Zealand face a tough task to qualify for the semi-finals. However, on paper, this Black Caps squad matches up with the best. Write them off at your peril.

About the Writer

@LouisDBCameron

A Victorian fast bowler who has played Shield cricket, Louis joined the cricket.com.au team with assistance from the Australian Cricketers' Association's Internship Program