CWC-2019

Upbeat New Zealand aim to extend form against dark horses West Indies

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New Zealand have well and truly announced themselves as a side to be respected at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, after their convincing victory against India on Saturday. Their new-ball pair of Tim Southee and Trent Boult exploited the conditions to great effect to get rid of the strong Indian top-order, before the all-rounders, Colin de Grandhomme and James Neesham took over. Trent Boult’s rhythm and accuracy must’ve surely given ominous signs to all the top-order batsmen in the competition.

Ross Taylor continued his consistent run in 2019 with a steady 71, whereas Kane Williamson reminded everyone of his batting prowess with a well compiled 67. With most senior players in fine form, the Blackcaps appear as a settled unit going into the World Cup. They’ll, however, hope that their wicket-keeper batsman, Tom Latham recovers quickly from his finger injury.

West Indies will be desperate to get some match practice, after their first warm-up game was cut short due to rain on Sunday. The essence of this match increases further given the fact that their senior players Chris Gayle, Andre Russell weren’t a part of the recently concluded tri-series in Ireland. Chris Gayle’s form during the home series against England and Shai Hope’s consistency in recent times will act as a huge morale booster for the two-time World champions.

The bowling unit has consistently failed to take wickets in recent times. The new ball pair of captain Jason Holder and Sheldon Cottrell have not been able to create any opportunities, conceding runs at over run-a-ball in their nine-over combined spell against South Africa. To add to the woes, Shannon Gabriel, who left the field after bowling the first two balls of the ninth over, didn’t take the field post the first rain interruption. He seems to have suffered a strain of some sort. The team management and the fans will hope that the Trinidad pacer recovers quickly before their first game against Pakistan in the tournament proper.

Chris Gayle (West Indies): The universe boss announced his return in West Indies colours in grand style, with a series of power-packed performances against England, earlier this year. Gayle, who became the first player to score a double hundred in the tournament’s history in 2015, will relish the batting friendly conditions on offer during the mega-event. The contest between him and the in-form Boult might well be one of the decisive factors on Tuesday.

Conditions:

Chances of a complete 100-over game seem bleak with high probability of rain in the afternoon. However, if the action does take place, one can expect some big hitting in batting friendly conditions which are aided by short boundaries.

Squads:

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Chris Gayle, Kemar Roach, Darren Bravo, Andre Russell, Shai Hope (wk), Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shannon Gabriel, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Oshane Thomas, Nicholas Pooran

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