New Zealand is the one side that epitomises a fighting culture. Individually, they may possess the best of talents given that cricket is not the favourite sport in the country – others like rugby and soccer take precedence. However, the New Zealand side is known to give some of the opposition a run for their money with their ability to fight tooth and nail as a unit.
Unfortunately for New Zealand, apart from their captain Daniel Vettori and a couple others, the lack of talent is a serious issue. The bowling hasn’t done much to earn itself too many brownie points in recent times and Vettori is a one-man army. On tracks that will be a far cry from those found back home, the Kiwi pace bowlers may not do too well and that is where the oppositions will have a good time against the New Zealand team.
New Zealand’s best opportunity is to get to the quarter-final and hope that they play as a unit and the opposition allows a little bit of complacency to set in. Apart from that, they need their top-order to fire away in order to allow the inexperienced bowling to get a buffer of runs.
New Zealand had recently lost an ODI series to Bangladesh 0-4, a shocking defeat in every aspect of the word. Bangladesh isn’t a side which is known to win too many matches let alone series and the Kiwi captain Vettori had been cocky enough to say that if they played to their potential, there was a good chance to win the series 5-0. As it turned out, New Zealand were woeful and lost 0-4. One of the major reasons for the loss was the batsmen’s inability to play spin bowlers on the slow and low wickets. Such a scenario could repeat in the World Cup given that it is going to be played in the sub-continent and could be their biggest threat.
Much like South Africa, New Zealand have never entered the final of the World Cup despite featuring in all of them. Their best standing in any of the World Cups is a semi-final berth that they had achieved in each of the 1975, 1979, 1992, 1999 and 2007. Unfortunately for them, they were always outplayed by a better team and never got to the final. In the rest of the tournaments, their best performance came in the 1996 World Cup when they got to the quarter-final and amassed 289 in the 50 overs before being ousted by a spirited Australian chase.
Daniel Vettori will lead the side through to the World Cup.
How the likes of Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder bat in the tournament will go a long way in deciding the manner in which the Kiwis will play. All three are aggressive and have played in the Indian conditions during the IPL which should keep them in good stead for the tournament.