The cricket world has had a number of cliches that get wheeled out at the start of any World Cup. South Africa always choke, Pakistan are unpredictable, and New Zealand are the dark horse. The term ‘dark horse’ is used to talk about a team that exceeds expectations. Looking at the stats, it might be an unfair tag for this years’ tournament for a team ranked 4th on the ODI rankings, one of the most balanced sides and a pool of experienced players like Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill, Tim Southee, and Trent Boult.
Recent Form: WWWWL
Last Completed ODI series: ( won 3-0) vs Bangladesh
Best World Cup Finish: Runner-Up (2015)
Predicted Finish: 5th
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Batsman to Watch: Ross Taylor[player_details id=”16186″ align=”none”]
Taylor is currently ranked third best batsman in ODI cricket. The 35-year-old is playing his third World Cup, aside from his experience, he has been in good form this year scoring a double century against Bangladesh. If he needs to settle things down after a top-order collapse, he is more than capable while he can also put the foot on the gas and move the game along rapidly if he needs to.
Bowler to Watch: Trent Boult[player_details id=”16176″ align=”none”]
Boult will be relied upon for early wickets with his menacing left-arm swing to restrict teams from any high scores. The 29-year-old is coming off a disappointing IPL where he struggled in limited opportunities and consistency much like his team mate Southee. The veteran spearheads are too experienced to get downtrodden but undoubtedly it isn’t ideal preparation for such key bowlers.
New Zealand will begin their campaign against Sri Lanka in Cardiff at Sophia Gardens on the 1st of June in search of their maiden ODI World Cup trophy.