Top 8 Teams for the ICC World Cup 2015 – New Zealand
New Zealand 15-man squad for ICC World Cup 2015: Brendon McCullum (captain), Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Daniel Vettori, Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, Tim Southee, Luke Ronchi (wicket keeper), Ross Taylor.
New Zealand cricket team is listed fairly low in the ranking tables but that does not truly represent their performances in the ICC events. They have been consistently reaching the top 4 by qualifying for the semi-finals several times. The team has struggled over the past few years with player injuries and inconsistent performances but it is going into this World Cup with 3 consecutive series victories. This has helped it jump up in the rankings with a well-settled side.
The New Zealand World Cup squad consists of some shocking inclusions and exclusions, a result of some very consistent performances by a batch of more than 15 players. The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Grant Elliot who has featured in just one ODI since November 2013. His inclusion was justified by his good record at home and an outstanding one in Australia where he averages over 52 and scored his only hundred prior to the return in the squad. Kiwi coach Mike Hesson believes that Elliot provides more depth in the batting order while also being a useful bowler.
The surprising exclusions were of Jimmy Neesham and Matt Henry. Both of them have been a regular part of the squad. Jimmy Neesham was dropped, in a squad that is rich in all-rounder resources consisting of Grant Elliot, Daniel Vettori, Nathan McCullum and Corey Anderson. Dropping Matt Henry was a tough decision for New Zealand that had to be taken. New Zealand squad already comprises Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan, the extremely quick Adam Milne and the experienced Kyle Mills, who gave Matt Henry a tough competition for a spot in the final squad.
The batting comprises of the regular batsmen including Martin Guptill and Tom Latham at the top of the order, unless of course Brendan McCullum promotes himself to the top of the order as seen in the recent ODIs. They are followed by the strong middle order batsmen in Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor while Luke Ronchi plays the role of a specialist wicket keeper.
Brendon McCullum provides the boom in the Kiwi batting line. He has been in good batting form recently and has the ability to take apart the opposing teams in the initial powerplay if he decides to bat up the order. Even if Brendon plays lower down the order he has the destructive capabilities to make any bowling attack seem powerless against him. In the current consistent form, he can definitely help New Zealand put the opposition under enormous pressure.
Kane Williamson has been scoring runs like a run-machine and has posted 13 scores of over 50 in the past 16 innings which include 3 hundreds. The consistency in his batting will strengthen the middle order and anchor the Kiwi middle order. If there is one key batsman that the Kiwi batting lineup relies on, its Kane Williamson.
The New Zealand pace attack will be led by the young Adam Milne. Although he has been unable to take wickets consistently, his pace is what makes him an exciting prospect. New Zealand think tank already believes that Adam Milne could be the demolishing force that the Kiwi pace attack has been lacking, and at home conditions there are very high expectations with Milne.
New Zealand’s strength lies in their very long and in-form batting lineup. New Zealand have good opening batsmen who can take the attack to the opposition, and have a firm middle order with the consistent Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor followed by a very deep lower-order with batsmen going down to the 9th wicket.
New Zealand also enjoy great bench strength and can easily rest any of the bowlers with potent replacements. They have 5 fast bowlers who have been in good form for the past few months. The pace attack is not to be taken lightly even though most of the players are quite young. The kiwis also enjoy the company of Vettori, an experienced veteran who would provide the stability in both batting and bowling.
Aside from the batting and bowling, New Zealand have a unique strength in the form of a very aggressive captain. They have always set a high bar with their fielding which deserves a mention here as they are, without a doubt, the best fielding unit in the world right now.
There is no major point of concern for the Kiwi team. The only two areas that could possibly be of any doubt are the opening, which has not been as consistent as the middle or lower order, and the fitness issues that tend to become an obstacle in the team’s progress in major tournaments quite regularly.
If New Zealand go through to the semi-finals, they would have a mental hurdle to overcome as they are yet to play a World Cup final. For some reason, they have manage to let themselves down at the knockout stages of the tournaments. However, fans of the Kiwi team would be hoping they clear that hurdle when it comes down to it.
New Zealand has an all-round team that lacks nothing. They are coming with confidence and consecutive series wins to back them. With most of the players in good form, the New Zealand side is one of the most formidable sides if not the most formidable side in this World Cup. Being the co-host of the grand tournament, the Kiwis will play all their matches at home except the final, if they manage to reach that far. This provides another advantage to the Kiwis and easily puts them among the favorites.