West Indies World Cup campaign went south after a great start to the tournament beating Pakistan in their opening encounter. They have lost rest of their completed games including the game against Bangladesh after scoring 321. The biggest issue for the West Indies has been their bowling plan. They had great success with the short ball strategy against Pakistan and Australia with the new ball but they struggled with the same plan against England and Bangladesh. Their batting hasn’t been bad and except for the game against England the batters have done well. Andre Russell seems to be unfit so West Indies are forced to make a change.
Carlos Brathwaite who missed out the previous game may come back as an all-rounder. It will be interesting to see if there will be any change with the bowling combination. West Indies do not have any other option with the spin bowling and Ashley Nurse hasn’t done that bad for them in the middle overs. They would need to work on a different plan against this strong New Zealand side. Captain Jason Holder will know that his side has to show lots of discipline on the field and restraint with the bat when required if they are to get this campaign on track. Sri Lanka beating England in the game yesterday has thrown the World Cup wide open and with 3 points in 5 games West Indies are in the run for that semi-final spot as well if they can win all their games.
New Zealand has had a great tournament so far and is one of the only two teams who are still unbeaten in this World Cup. Their top four has been in good form and captain Kane Williamson has been the batting beautifully so far. Their only problem has been with their bowling which hasn’t been tested to the fullest. After the new ball and Lockie Ferguson, the two all-rounders haven’t been put under pressure yet. There are a few things the Blackcaps still have to iron out but they are looking really strong at the moment.
Head to head:
There isn’t much between the two teams historically in ODIs and have the world cup is no different from New Zealand with a slight advantage of 4-3.
Kane Williamson (New Zealand): Kane Williamson has been brilliant with the bat and with the openers not in a great form his form is crucial for the Kiwis. His 100 against South Africa was one of the best in the tournament and he will once again be required to guide the batting line up against a good West Indies attack.
Matt Henry (New Zealand): West Indies strength is their top order batting and Matt Henry with the new ball has been good so far for New Zealand. With a little bit of swing and with the experience of playing a lot in England Matt Henry can be the difference with the new ball for New Zealand.
Chris Gayle (West Indies): If West Indies have to turn this campaign around, Chris Gayle has to do what Angelo Mathews did for Sri Lanka yesterday. He needs to bat well against the new ball and if he gets set the veteran can take the game away from the opposition. The New Zealand strength is their new ball but their back up attack hasn’t been tested, so surviving the new ball is crucial.
Jason Holder (West Indies): The bowling attack of West Indies has been one dimensional and their captain would need to l make sure that they change their strategy. His captaincy and also his bowling against the New Zealand batting will set the tone for rest of the team to follow.
What they said?
“I think we still have a possible chance to qualify for the semifinals, but we’ve just got to take it game by game,” Holder said “This encounter with New Zealand is very important. We all know what’s at stake and we just have to come and bring our A game. It’s as simple as that.”
“He is our X-factor player,” Williamson said of de Grandhomme “He came in and hit the ball beautifully. He played a brilliant knock. De Grandhomme for me was the standout with his bowling and the impetus he gave us with the bat in the end.”
New Zealand XI:
Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santer, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry/Tim Southee, Trent Boult
West Indies XI:
Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmeyer, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Sheldon Cottrell, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel
The World Cup is now wide open with multiple teams vying for the semi-finals spot and West Indies is one of them. New Zealand currently is playing very well but West Indies can trouble them if they play with discipline and restraint. This will be a close game but New Zealand with their mental strength should still come on top.