They call themselves the Black Caps while cricket punters often like to refer to them as the “Dark Horses.” New Zealand is a dangerous team in the limited overs format and while they’ve yet to win an ODI World Cup, there is support for Kane Williamson’s side in 2019.
Four years ago, they came so close, reaching the final before falling to cross-Tasman rivals Australia. Can they go one better this year or will the wait for World Cup glory continue?
New Zealand is available at odds of +1000 to win the 2019 World Cup. That figure leaves the squad as fourth favorites so the bookies are tipping them to reach the semifinal stage. That’s certainly a realistic target and from there, anything can happen, so is this the Kiwis’ year?
Much will depend on a balanced batting unit while it’s felt that New Zealand’s swing and seam bowlers will be assisted by the English conditions at this year’s World Cup. Many bettors feel they’re worth an outside punt but is the 2019 squad really ready to convert?
New Zealand may have lost Brendon McCullum since the previous tournament and while the former skipper is a tough act to follow, there is solid depth to this current batting unit. It’s an excellent mix of power hitters including Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and Henry Nicholls while the more patient accumulation of Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham complete a perfect balance.
Remember, Guptill was the leading run scorer at the 2015 tournament and there are few better batsmen in the one-day game when he’s in form. There’s much to admire about the squad but if New Zealand is to reach the knockouts, the batting unit needs to perform to its full potential.
The Kiwis will come to England with the established new ball pairing of Tim Southee and Trent Boult. The two have served their side well for a number of years and Boult was joint leading wicket taker at the 2015 World Cup.
There are some potential concerns and while we shouldn’t read too much into performances at the Indian Premier League, Southee and Boult were underused and ineffective at IPL 12. Are they past their best? They will certainly be under pressure in England in conditions that should suit their bowling style.
The spin options are also worth scrutinizing. Ish Sodhi is the main spinner but he can be expensive so the selectors may just go with the bowling all-rounder Mitchell Santner. On flat surfaces and, hopefully, clear blue skies, this Kiwi attack will be tested to the limit this summer.
In any side, the skipper is always going to play a key role but New Zealand’s captain will need to do more than just marshal the troops. Kane Williamson has been a prolific run scorer in all forms of the game and his job is to bat long and knit the innings together.
In terms of rankings, Williamson is second in the test ratings, behind Virat Kohli. In the ODI format, he’s down at 11, compared to teammate Ross Taylor at 3 but the Kiwi captain is still our man. He has over 5,000 runs in One Day Internationals and, while his strike rate looks low at 82.61, it’s that ability to stay in for the duration while others bat around him that will be crucial to New Zealand’s chances in 2019.
There should be no issues with New Zealand’s batting and this current unit has the ability to build totals in excess of 350. Guptill, Williamson, Taylor, Munro, Nicholls, Latham and Neesham are a seriously impressive unit who complement each other and are likely to score big once again.
We mentioned that Guptill was the leading run scorer in 2015 and if you want to back him for a repeat performance, he’s available at odds of +3300. Kane Williamson carries the shortest Kiwi price at +1600 so the bookmakers are backing up our theory that the skipper is the key man.
The bowling is a concern for us and we feel that both Boult and Southee may not be as effective for New Zealand as they have been in the past. They can also call upon the raw pace of Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson but is there enough pace and variety to this attack?
For reference, Top Tournament Bowler markets have now been produced and Trent Boult is available at +1900, followed by Tim Southee at +2400. New Zealand should remain competitive but this new format may count against them and we don’t expect the Black Caps to make it out of the groups this time around.
Prediction: Group Stages
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ICC World Cup News
Odds Shark Staff Thu, Feb 17, 9:14amICC World Cup