New Zealand’s Black Caps

New Zealand will be hoping to win their first ICC Cricket World Cup title in 2015 on home soil.  The Kiwis will be jointly hosting this year’s tournament with their neighbours, Australia, just like they did in 1992 when they reached the semi-finals.  The Black Caps played their first One Day International in the 1972/73 season against Pakistan in Christchurch.   The sixth ranked team in ODIs have a decent record in this particular format but do struggle to be consistent.  Their achievements in the shorter formats of the game include an ICC Champions Trophy in 2000 in Kenya as well as a bronze medal at the 1998 Commonwealth games in Malaysia.

Looking back to the last installment of the World Cup the New Zealanders found themselves in Group A alongside joint hosts Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Canada.  They pipped the three lower ranked teams to take the fourth spot at the end of the Group Stages having managed a total of eight points recording four wins and two losses.  In the knockout stages they triumphed over the the Group B winners South Africa by 49 runs to advance to the semi-finals for the sixth time and they were eventually knockout out by Sri Lanka.

Looking ahead to the next edition they will be hoping to give it a happy ending especially as they are on home soil and in front of their home crowd.  The key players to their success include their skipper Brendon McCullum, who is experienced and has the ability to score runs a plenty with the bat.  They are an unpredictable side especially at the World Cup as they can topple any team on a good day.  They have other notable batsman with skill in Kane Richardson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson and Martin Guptil just to name a few.

In the bowling department they have some notable men that will be key to their going far in the tournament.  Tim Southee has the ability to take wickets and take them regularly.  Trent Boult and Mithell McClenaghan are also solid bowlers who can make a difference for the hosts in their World Cup campaign.  After falling just short in 1992, the co-hosts they will be hoping for a fairytale ending in their own backyard 23 years on.

Prediction: Runners-up

Photo: New Zealand’s Adam Milne in action
Photo credit: Hagen Hopkins-Getty Images