Five New Zealand Cricketers Who Can Spoil Team India’s Party at WC
After comprehensively overcoming the South African and Australian challenge at the ongoing Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, Team India will now be looking forward to the New Zealand challenge when the two sides meet at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Thursday, 14 June.
In their first two matches, India aptly justified their ‘favourites’ tag, outplaying the opposition in all departments. If South Africa meekly surrendered to likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal, against Australia it was India’s dominant batting display that clinched the deal for the side.
Meanwhile, the New Zealanders are perched comfortably at the top of the points table after recording three wins in as many matches.
Always regarded as the ‘dark horses’ in every edition of the World Cup, New Zealand have also been equally dominant and clinical in the victories.
In fact, since arriving in England, the only time the Indians looked mediocre were against the ‘Blackcaps’ in their first warm-up game.
Favourites India were in for a rude shock when they were dismissed for a paltry 179 by the New Zealand bowlers before the batsmen completed a comfortable six wicket victory.
On Thursday, when the two sides meet again. the Indian contingent need to be wary of some of the Kiwi match winners, who might spoil their party.
Here’s a look at the five New Zealand cricketers who might engineer India’s first loss of the competition.1) Kane Williamson
The skipper has been leading from the front with the bat. Since arriving in England, Williamson has notches three half-centuries in four innings, including the two warm-up matches. He averages over 90 and looks good to further improve on that. His best of 85 came up against West Indies in the second warm-up game in Bristol.
A batsman of his calibre, who can change gear at will and can alone win matches for his side with the bat, might have some plans up his sleeve to tackle the Indian bowlers.
In the 23 matches he has played against India, Williamson has scored 895 runs at an average of 38.91, including a century, way back in 2016.
Apart from the warm-up game, where he scored a 67, Williamson is used to playing Indian bowlers, courtesy the Indian Premier League. In fact, he might find it easy to tackle Bhuvneshwar Kumar after facing him quite a number of times in the nets for the Hyderabad franchisee.2) Martin Guptill
After an initial surge against Sri Lanka in the first match, Guptill is yet to shine with the bat in the competition. But it would be really foolish of the Indian team if they take the mercurial opener lightly.
The top scorer from the previous edition of the World Cup, Guptill has managed scores of 73 not out, 25 and 0 till now and would be itching to score some runs against India to find form.
In the recent bilateral ODI series between the two sides, Guptill couldn’t fare well with the bat. So, if the law of averages is to be believed Thursday just might end up being his day.
Till date he has played 30 matches against India and has scored 747 runs at a modest average of 26.67. His only hundred against India came five years ago in Auckland.
But again these number won’t be of any value if India allows him to get going. Equally destructive as his counterparts at the top of the innings, Virat and Co would love to see his back as soon as possible.3) Trent Boult
The wrecker-in-chief against India in the warm-up match, Trent Boult had a great outing against India and West Indies, grabbing eight wickets in the two warm-up games. But since then Boult hasn’t been quite up to the mark with the ball.
In the three matches against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, Boult accounted for only three wickets. In fact, in the last match against the Afghans he returned wicketless.
But a star performer like Boult thrives under pressure, especially against India, who have been one of his favourite opponents.
In the 12 matches he has played against India, Boult’s tally stands at 22 wickets at an average of 24.90 and an impressive economy of 4.74. Out of the 22 wickets, 12 off them came earlier this year in the five-match ODI series in New Zealand.
His has best of 5/21 against India.
In the warm-up game, Boult had cleaned up the Indian top-order, including the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, and would look to replicate something similar on Thursday at Trent Bridge.4) Lockie Ferguson
The right-arm quick is among wickets and would like to carry on his good work from the previous match against Afghanistan.
Ferguson has been a difficult customer with the ball as far as the first three matches are concerned. After 3/22 against Sri Lanka in Cardiff, Ferguson finished with 4/37 against Afghanistan.
In the three matches he has played till now, he has picked up 8 wickets to be occupy the number four position on the bowling charts this World Cup.
Bowling at 150 kmph, Ferguson’s pace and bounce at the start of the innings might be troublesome for the Indian batsmen, who need to tread carefully while dealing with him.5) Matt Henry
With seven wickets in the first two matches, Henry is the second Kiwi bowler among the top five wicket-takers in the tournament.
He might have had an off day against Afghanistan but prior to that he finished with 3/29 and 4/47 against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh respectively.
In the five matches he has played against India, Henry has accounted for 11 wickets at an average of 19.09. His economy of 4.43 against India is quite impressive against his career economy of 5.50.
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