Kiwis are never considered a weak team when it comes ICC tournaments. Since they appointed Brendan McCullum as captain, they have seen a sudden change in their fate. Though they do not have the services of him right now but he as changed the attitude of this team on the field.
The Recent loss to South Africa in their own backyard came like a shock to Blackcaps. Even Kiwi coach Mike Hesson has said that they have to become better at reacting to a pressure situation. New Zealand is placed in the group of death of Champions Trophy with teams like Australia, The host England and the newcomers Bangladesh.
Let’s examine why Kiwis have a chance to win Champions trophy?
New Zealanders are known for always relying on their all-round utility players, especially in the limited-overs format. This team too is no exception from previous teams. Corey Anderson, James Neesham, Colin Munro, Colin De Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner are known for their all-round capabilities. In limited-overs format, teams with depth in batting and some good extra bowling option so that they can play support to their premier bowlers in a bad day.
New Zealand looks more solid in this department than any other team taking part in Champions Trophy. They have plenty of options as a backup. They bat deep and their bowling options are enough to provide a supportive role.
Kiwi’s new-ball attack is known for destruction, Trent Boult and Tim Southee in English conditions may prove dangerous as they find it bit similar to their own land. Other than these two guys, Matt Henry with raw pace gives New Zealand a variety to the squad. Having said that, Kiwi fans will be waiting for Mitchell McClenaghan to be fit as soon as possible. He is known for his wicket taking ability. Kiwi team management might want to see him in XI and so does fans.
With the players like Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson in top 4, New Zealand have a balanced top order with the mix of attack and class at the same time. And in middle-order, they possess some big power hitters like Anderson, Ronchi, De Grandhomme as finishers.
What changes do we expect?
New Zealand’s big worry is to find a replacement of Brendan McCullum at the top, someone who can give a good start early in the innings. They have tried few options in Tom Latham, Dean Brownlie but they never looked like a perfect partner to support Guptill. There are chances that New Zealand can rope in George worker or Jeet Raval as the third opener for the tournament.