Monday, December 5, 2022

ICC: Repeat of the 2021 Final awaiting New Zealand at the start of their 2022 campaign

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The ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup is now in full flow and before long the competition will reach its next stage, the Super 12s, where New Zealand enter the competition. 

Last year’s beaten finalists, the Black Caps will surely be among the front runners in this year’s competition as they look to avenge defeat by this year’s hosts Australia. 

And ahead of their opener against Australia on Saturday – we look at the New Zealand team in focus. 

2022 Prospects 

New Zealand have been drawn in Group 1 of the Super 12s, alongside Afghanistan, Australia and England, with two further teams – one from Group A and one from Group B of the first round also joining. 

They will need to come in the top two of those six sides to reach the knockout stage, which they have done in the previous two editions of the T20 World Cup. 

The Kiwis enter the competition in mixed form, having lost to South Africa and Pakistan, but recently enjoying victories against Bangladesh (twice) and against Pakistan in a T20 tri-series. 

A 3-0 series defeat to the West Indies before that shows how much their form has been up and down, but they will be hoping heading into Australia to improve their consistency. 

Having made it to the semi-finals in the previous two World Cups, New Zealand will expect to be there for a third consecutive time, but with both England and Australia there as well as Afghanistan – it may be easier said than done. 

T20 World Cup History 

New Zealand have played their part in every single ICC Men’s T20 World Cup since the inaugural tournament in South Africa back in 2007 – where they lost to Pakistan in the semi-finals. 

In their next four competitions – 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014, the Black Caps failed to make it beyond the Super 8s or Super 10s and into the semi-finals. 

But, nine years after their last appearance in the knockout stages, the Black Caps finally returned their again, with all facets of New Zealand cricket dramatically improving at the same time. They lost that semi-final by seven wickets to England and then went one better in 2021. 

Reaching the knockout stages for the second consecutive T20 World Cup, New Zealand earned revenge on England in the process with a five-wicket victory, only to suffer an eight-wicket defeat to neighbours Australia in the final. Now they look to go one better and win their first ever ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. 

Best Batters 

When looking at the best batters in the New Zealand cricket side, they simply do not come better than Kane Williamson. 

Arguably New Zealand’s greatest ever, Williamson has been a key member of the Black Caps’ rise to prominence in all three forms of the game and is still one of the best players in the world now. 

Mainly known for thriving in Test cricket, where he remains sixth in the batting rankings, Williamson has an average of 32.72 from at T20 international level, including a high score of 95. 

In the recent narrow defeat to Pakistan, Williamson top scored for the Black Caps, scoring 59 from 38 balls to reassure over his form. 

Ranked fifth in the ICC MRF Tyres Men’s T20I Player Rankings, Devon Conway is the man to get New Zealand going as an opening batter. 

Averaging an astonishing 52.27 from his 25 innings, with a tantalising high score of 99 not out, he is the man to set the tone for the Black Caps alongside Martin Guptill. 

Best Bowlers 

New Zealand’s batting is a strength, but they are not without a top-quality bowling line-up either. 

Their long-standing partnership consists of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, who, like Williamson have mastered the art of all three formats in New Zealand’s most successful run. 

Both Southee and Boult have outstanding records at T20 level and are surely one of the most imposing opening bowling pairings in the World Cup this year. 

Southee’s 122 T20 international wickets have come at an average of 24.62 and Boult’s average is even more impressive, taking 66 wickets at 22.71. 

The pair are complemented by spinner Mitchell Santner, ranked 12th in the world, with 80 wickets 22.4.

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