Are the Black Caps the real deal?
While most eyes were focused on Australia’s demolition of the old enemy on Saturday, away from the attention New Zealand’s Black Caps put in a polished performance against Sri Lanka in Christchurch.
Many pundits believe this could finally be New Zealand’s time and some optimists from across the ditch are talking up the possibility of winning two world cups this year (2015 Rugby Union World Cup is held in September).
New Zealand made it two from two with a victory over Scotland yesterday and there is no doubt about it, the Black Caps are one of the form teams in the World Cup having steadily improved over the last year. Who could forget the innings defeat they handed Pakistan in the UAE, just weeks after Australia was crushed by the same opposition.
For the first time in a long time the Kiwis have the batting depth to mix it with the big boys. Brendan McCullum’s dash at the top of the order sets the tone and is well complimented by Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor who provide stability in the middle order. Corey Anderson, Grant Elliott and former Aussie Luke Ronchi are all capable of finding the boundary in the final overs but more importantly have the ability to dig the side out of a hole if they lose early wickets. “They are a well balanced, confident and in-form squad, who have the luxury of playing every match on home soil”
The bowling is led by the evergreen Daniel Vettori, who crucially puts the brakes on opposing teams through the middle overs. Adam Milne provides genuine pace while Tim Southee and Trent Boult create early chances by swinging the new ball. All-rounders, Anderson, Elliott and Williamson will also chip in and are more than useful if required.
The Black Cap’s defeated Sri Lanka by 98 runs in their opening match on Saturday, just days after giving South Africa a hiding in a World Cup warm-up.
They are a well balanced, confident and in-form squad, who have the luxury of playing every match on home soil. A good mix of experience and youth mean this talented team is capable of going deep into the tournament.
Can they mix it with Australia, India and South Africa? Absolutely.