The New Zealand cricket team have announced their squad for the T20 World Cup to be played in Australia from October 16 to November 13. Kane Williamson will lead the team. Experienced opener Martin Guptill, Devon Conway, Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips are the key batters in the team. If we look at the bowling, the Kiwis have stuck to the tried and tested opening bowling duo of Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Ish Sodhi remains their leading spinner, with Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner their all-rounders. On that note, let’s do a SWOT analysis of New Zealand’s T20 World Cup squad.
Strengths: Tried and tested performers
New Zealand have a number of quality performers in their T20 World Cup squad who have the experience and proven match-winning skills. Martin Guptill is a destructive opener and one of the leading run-getters in world cricket. Daryl Mitchell was one of New Zealand’s unsung heroes last year during the T20 World Cup. There will be high hopes from him as well.
In the bowling, Southee and Boult provided the team firepower with the ball across the game’s three formats. Nothing less would be expected of them. On their day, both can win matches single-handedly for the team. Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi is an unsung performer but one of the best in the business regarding the T20I format.
Weaknesses: Sameness about their team
Yes, continuity is said to be good. However, good additions are also welcome. That’s not been the case with New Zealand in recent years. They haven’t found enough X-factor players who can be considered a threat to opponents on the big stage. Since returning from injury, Skipper Kane Williamson’s form has been a massive cause for concern. He had a forgettable campaign while leading Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in IPL 2022.
Mitchell Santner and Jimmy Neesham have been around the team for quite a few years. They are good performers, no doubt, but haven’t come up with enough match-winning performances on their own. Big-hitting Glenn Phillips is the future of New Zealand’s batting, but he is still discovering himself on the big stage. Besides him, fast bowler Lockie Ferguson also has the potential X factor, but unfortunately for New Zealand, he hasn’t been consistent enough. The same can be said about Adam Milne, although he has played fewer games and is also injury-prone.
Opportunities: To go that extra mile
Despite not being the strongest side, New Zealand have done consistently well in ICC events over the last decade. They had always been there and there about, reaching the semi-finals. However, in 2015, under Brendon McCullum, they played some spectacular cricket to reach the 50-over final. Four years later, they made the 2019 final as well at Lord’s but were unlucky not to lift the trophy. After winning the ICC Test championship, they finished runners-up in last year’s T20 World Cup. Can they go one step ahead this time?
Threats: Handling big-day pressure
The one big drawback for the Kiwis in tournament-defining games has been their inability to deal with the pressure. In the 1992 World Cup, they were done in a superb innings from Inzamam-ul-Haq. In 1999, Shoaib Akhtar blew their batting away. McCullum had been outstanding in the 2015 World Cup but failed to deliver in the final. During the T20 World Cup last year, New Zealand made a fantastic show to reach the summit clash. Apart from Williamson and Boult’s performances, the rest could not rise to the challenge. This will need to change.
New Zealand’s T20 World Cup squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Daryl Mitchell, Adam Milne, Martin Guptill, Lockie Ferguson, Devon Conway, Mark Chapman, Michael Bracewell, Trent Boult, Finn Allen