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SportCricketNew Zealand face different challenge in the UAE

New Zealand face different challenge in the UAE

Published: 19th Oct 2021 1:32 am

Hyderabad: If any country that has best returns in the ICC conducted events in recent times then it should be the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand team. Though they had the misfortune of having a heartbreak in the 2019 one-day World Cup when they lost to England in one of the humdinger of the finals, two years later they made amends as they bagged the World Test Championship title by annihilating India in the final in England. The Kiwis have been one of the consistent performers in world Cricket.

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However, there could be a sort of speed breaker to their campaign in the UAE World Cup as most of New Zealand’s victories have come in their own country or in England where their fast bowlers played a big part in their triumph. The batsmen, led by Williamson and vice-captain Rod Latham, adjusted to the conditions to a nicety to come out trumps in those familiar conditions.

However, with this postponed T20 World Cup being held in the UAE, after being shifted from India because of Covid-19 pandemic, it would be a different challenge as their past record on the slow wickets of Asian subcontinent are least impressive. During their recent tour of Bangladesh, New Zealand sans their big players Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, faced the harsh reality.

Therefore, for coach Gary Stead and captain Williamson, New Zealand need to reassess the strategies. They have even drafted in former captain Stephen Fleming as one of the staff members to guide them in these conditions. Fleming has found success as a coach with Chennai Super King, who have a fabulous record in IPL, both in India and the UAE.

New Zealand are also placed in Group 2 of the Super 12 where they have formidable Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Playing on the slow surfaces is altogether a different ball game. The batsmen have to adapt and play a waiting game. Though Williamson was not in the best of his form for the bottom-ranked Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, he has the technique to play on these slow surfaces. They are hoping for the two big-hitting batsmen Martin Guptill and Devon Convoy to give that explosive start.

The quartet of Williamson, Latham, Guptill and new find Convoy has a vital role to play in the New Zealand campaign. All-rounders Colin de Grandhomme and James Neesham could be one of the important members as middle order batsmen and then with their wobbly pace deliveries. Leg spinner Ish Sodhi along with left-arm spinner Mitchel Santner could look for a good haul for New Zealand.

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