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13 February 201505:03

New Zealand ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Tournament Preview & Guide

With remarkable depth in both the batting and bowling departments, this is New Zealand’s best chance to win its first World Cup

New Zealand ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Tournament Preview & Guide - Cricket News

New Zealand has had a wonderful 2014 and is one of the top teams across formats at the moment.

In 1992, the Martin Crowe-led Kiwi side won seven straight matches to make a home semi-final at Eden Park. The New Zealand public provided overwhelming support to Crowe’s crew and if Brendon McCullum’s side can get off to a good start, the nation will get in behind them again.

New Zealand has had a wonderful 2014 and is one of the top teams across formats at the moment, a favourite for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 by right instead of being the dark horse it has always been perceived as.

“On paper, I think it's without doubt the strongest team I've certainly been involved with going into a World Cup. But World Cup's aren't won on paper. It will be interesting to see how we go, but we've got a very level bunch of people within the group," McCullum said. We've got a lot of guys who are very humble and level on their emotions and that helps you to be able to deal with some of the pressures which come on.”

Brendon McCullum - New Zealand captain
Led by Brendon McCullum and coached by Mike Hesson, the team boasts a strong all-round batting line-up, a top-notch seam-heavy bowling attack and a superb fielding unit.


New Zealand has a history of doing well in World Cups, having made six semi-finals in ten World Cups it has been a part of so far but never reaching the final. In a surprising statistic, only Australia sits ahead of New Zealand on total World Cup wins, with New Zealand racking up 40 wins compared to Australia’s 55.

Pool: New Zealand is a part of Pool A. The Pool comprises of Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan

Captain: Brendon McCullum

Coach: Mike Hesson


In pursuit of its first ICC Cricket World Cup title after having made the semi-finals six times out of ten, New Zealand finds itself with its best chance.

On paper, it is one of the strongest teams with variety and class in all departments. With an established batting and bowling line-up, playing in its own backyard could give it an edge when compared to the other teams.

The experience of Daniel Vettori heading the spin department and the accuracy and consistency of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Mills and Mitchell McClenaghan makes the bowling formidable. And having match-winners with the bat like McCullum, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, as well as the explosive Corey Anderson, who can all single-handedly change the course of a game, only adds to its strength as a team.

As a team, if it uses its resources wisely, follows a strategy and believes in itself, New Zealand can go all the way.

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Records have been tumbling at the hands of an in-form batting unit, with McCullum, Williamson, Anderson and Luke Ronchi all proving effective not only in putting up large scores, but also in chasing them down.

The bowlers, meanwhile, led by Boult, have been more than dangerous. In their backyard, New Zealand is the team to beat. Also, its fielding being top notch gives it an additional gain over other teams.

Recent form:

New Zealand enjoyed unparalleled success in 2014, which was one of its most successful years across all formats. Nine wins in 16 One-Day Internationals, five wins in nine Tests – a record – and winning six of ten Twenty20s was what its year was about.

Its Test successes included series victories over Sri Lanka, India and West Indies, and a drawn series against Pakistan in the UAE in October.

In ODI’s, it picked up series wins against both India and Pakistan. A month away from the World Cup, it notched up a 4-2 win in the seven-match ODI series against Sri Lanka carrying momentum and confidence to the elite tournament.

Star Player: Brendon McCullum

Leading from the front, the New Zealand captain promises to carry forward his record-breaking Test form into the limited-overs format. He can swing games with his hitting, and his team will depend on the starts he provides with Martin Guptill. Add to this his astute captaincy and energetic fielding, and you have a champion of the modern game.

One to watch: Adam Milne

The 22-year-old is one of the few bowlers to have worked his way up to the express 150kph speed bracket. His genuine pace is an asset for the New Zealand team that already has a bunch of pacemen, who have been extremely effective.

In his first World Cup appearance, Milne would be aiming at add more control. If Milne achieves his own targets, he could have the better established pacemen fighting for a spot in the playing XI.

Fun Facts

Daniel Vettori - He will be appearing in his fifth World Cup, while Brendon McCullum will play his fourth.

Brendon McCullum – Holds the record for the fastest half-century in World Cup history – scored off 20 balls against Canada in 2007.

Kane Williamson - Averages 66.56 in ODI cricket since the start of 2014

New Zealand's best World Cup bowling figures belong to Shane Bond, who took 6 for 23 against Australia in 2003. Bond is now the New Zealand bowling coach.

Key Match: New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Hagley Oval, February 14

The tournament opener against Sri Lanka will be one of the most important games in its campaign.

All eyes will be on the team that has shown tremendous promise in the last few months. If it can pick up a win in its first game of the tournament against a strong team like Sri Lanka, the early confidence and momentum will come in handy when it takes on teams like England and Australia.

Scott Styris’s prediction: New Zealand: Winner

No obvious weaknesses, it is playing great cricket at the moment having dominated for the last 12-18 months. The class of McCullum, Williamson and Taylor will be expected to score the bulk of the runs. Daniel Vettori and an impressive pace bowling attack are primed to take advantage of any conditions they're likely to encounter. The class team of the field!


New Zealand have a wonderful spirit and respect for the game, and home advantage will benefit their well-balanced squad.” – Martin Crowe, former New Zealand captain.

“I think they've got a really, really good pace attack. That's why you look at them and you think these guys are one of the serious contenders.” – Rahul Dravid, former India batsman.

“They have [Daniel] Vettori back in the spin department, and with [Tim] Southee, [Trent] Boult, [Mitchell] McClenaghan and [Kyle] Mills they have a solid pace attack. If you look at their batting you have Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, who are three outstanding batters. I think those three guys can certainly take the game away.” – Graeme Smith, former South Africa captain.

Squad: Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Luke Ronchi (wk), Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori, Kane Williamson.

Feb 14: v Sri Lanka, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Feb 17: v Scotland, University Oval, Dunedin
Feb 20: v England, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington
Feb 28: v Australia, Eden Park, Auckland
Mar 8: v Afghanistan, McLean Park, Napier
Mar 13: v Bangladesh, Seddon Park, Hamilton