After coming so close on several occasions, New Zealand is hoping that its golden generation three of Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, and Trent Boult will be able to have one more successful outing as they attempt to win the limited-overs World Cup for the first time.
When New Zealand faced England in the final of the 50-over World Cup four years ago, the match was one of the closest ones to ever take place. However, New Zealand came up short on the boundary countback after two super overs failed to separate the sides.
The Black Caps showed exceptional good grace in defeating the Lord’s Tavern team, especially since they had suffered far more decisive defeats at the hands of Australia in the championship decider in 2015 and the Twenty20 World Cup final in 2021.
Although master batsman Williamson and strike bowlers Southee and Boult were important contributors in all three campaigns, their journeys to India have not been easy as they reach the middle of their 30s at this point in their careers.
This year, coach Gary Stead has spent as much time worrying about medical reports as he has on batting and bowling statistics. This is particularly true when Kane Williamson tore knee ligaments while playing in the Indian Premier League in April.
The New Zealand skipper made an incredible comeback to save his position on the team for the World Cup, but he didn’t start batting again until Friday in a triumph against Pakistan in a warm-up match.
Williamson won’t be able to play in the first game of the tournament, which is a repeat of the 2019 final versus England and will take place on Thursday in Ahmedabad.
Even though Kane played just with the bat today, it was still fantastic to see him out there. “He didn’t even feel it,” he stated after the game in Hyderabad, which was played in India.
“Pretty warming from the team’s perspective that we know he’s pretty close to getting back to full fitness.”
Southee’s injury, a fractured thumb that needed five pins to fix, occurred more recently; nonetheless, according to Stead, the pacemaker is hopeful that he will be able to play despite the pain in New Zealand’s second game, if not the first. Southee’s ailment was a broken thumb that required five pins to repair.
His striking partner Boult is completely healthy and returns to the fray after sliding away from a core contract last year to take advantage of lucrative chances in franchise Twenty20 cricket. Boult is fully fit and returns to the fold.
Although the loss of spin-bowling all-rounder Michael Bracewell to a torn Achilles in June was a big blow, the remaining 12 members of the team certainly have enough of skill amongst them.
Stead tried to replace the vacuum caused by Bracewell’s absence by bringing back an uncontracted player named Jimmy Neesham and putting his faith in two inexperienced players named Rachin Ravindra and Mark Chapman. In addition, Stead placed his faith in the inexperienced players.
The coach of the New Zealand cricket team is aware that it is going to be a lengthy tournament and has said that he would choose players for his side on a match-by-match basis. He anticipates that the conditions will range from the customary sluggish Indian wickets to speedier surfaces that will favour pace.
Stead was bothered with the fact that the Black Caps were heading to India rated sixth in the world since they had shown in prior World Cups that they are exceptionally good at the administration of tournaments.
“We’ve shown in the last month or so that we can beat England, which is one of the best teams in the world,” he added. “We’ve also shown that we can beat the best teams in the world.”
“You don’t have to beat them every day; you just have to beat them on certain days,” the coach told his team.