Powell ready to take on ‘undercooked’ New Zealand in key T20 World Cup contest

West Indies skipper Rovman Powell believes facing a recently defeated New Zealand will bode well for his side when they face off against the Kiwis at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

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West Indies are coming off back-to-back wins against PNG and Uganda respectively, whereas New Zealand lost their opening group game by a heavy margin. A win for the former against the Black Caps in Tarouba would seal their spot in the second round.

West Indies captain Powell thought the tournament co-hosts had a decent chance at ambushing the relatively under-prepared New Zealand. While the Black Caps had an extended stay in the Caribbean, they preferred net sessions over warm-up fixtures in the lead-up to the tournament in contrast to many other sides.

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“If there's a good time to play New Zealand, I think it's now,” Powell said at the press conference ahead of the game. “They're a little bit undercooked.”

Powell added that Kane Williamson’s side will be under greater pressure after a heavy defeat to Afghanistan, needing a win to ensure that they don’t have to bank on other results in order to progress.

“The pressure is really on them because this game decides whether they go on yes or no. But having said that we're not focusing on New Zealand, we're focusing on what we have to do and once you do what we have to do then that will take care of itself," Powell said.

Powell was also confident that his side had done their homework on his Rajasthan Royals teammate, Trent Boult, who will be the foremost Kiwi threat with the new ball.

“With a lot of technologies around, everything you do in every single game is available to everyone around the world,” Powell added. “Thankfully for us we have very good analysts who have figured out some of the strengths and weaknesses of Trent Boult.

“So hopefully tomorrow we can mitigate his strengths and try to capitalise (on his weaknesses).”

Action in Group C moves from Guyana to Tarouba in Trinidad and Tobago. The West Indies last featured at the venue in December 2023, wherein they secured a series win over England. As per Powell, recent experience and knowledge of conditions would boost the West Indies' chances.

Rovman Powell hits one out of the ground

“Those performances (against England) give us confidence. It gives us confidence in knowing that it's our condition and we understand the condition," he added.

“The results have gone our way here at Brian Lara Stadium. So, I think that is additional confidence for us, that they have prepared different surfaces here at Brian Lara and we have played on it. So that's very good for us as a team.”

The ninth Men’s T20 World Cup is the biggest ever, and Powell was completely aware of its significance.

When asked what this T20 World Cup meant to the side, Powell leaned into its historic and economic significance for the region.

“If we should go on and win the World Cup, it's the first team to have won a (men's) T20 World Cup at home," Powell noted.

“And also, if you look at it from a financial standpoint, the boost West Indies cricket economy and how beneficial it is for so many different islands to be getting international cricket and international cricket of such good standards.

“That in itself is a beneficial factor for us and also for us as players it's an opportunity for us to cement our space in West Indies cricket folklore. Winning a World Cup on home soil, not just myself as captain but all the guys I think will be remembered for such achievement.”

Take a trip down memory lane with Samuel Badree as he recalls West Indies' triumphant 2012 ICC Men's T20 World Cup campaign.

ICC Men's T20 World Cup, 2024NewsWest Indies vs New Zealand - Group