After the end of the first week in the ICC World Cup 2019, the team that is sitting pretty at the top of the points table is New Zealand. The Black Caps have won all three of their games so far in the tournament and have 6 points with a superb net run-rate of +2.163.
Kane Williamson’s men have played against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and registered excellent victories over all of them. While there has been a lot of hoopla over the other tournament favorites like England, Australia, and India, New Zealand has been quietly going about its job and has looked solid with all bases covered.
Like always, New Zealand doesn’t have any air about them. They are focusing on the rights and on the things that will work for them without being too bothered about anything else.
This performance isn’t astonishing. First of all, New Zealand were the runners up of the 2015 World Cup. And their form leading up the World Cup 2019 has been great. Barring the ODI series loss against India at home, the Kiwis have been clinical all year – squaring a series against Pakistan in the UAE; they defeated Sri Lanka 3-0 and Bangladesh 3-0.
With six more matches to play, New Zealand has a great chance to secure a place in the semi-finals. If and when that happens, it would be a fantastic achievement by this gloriously underrated team.
Despite not being considered tournament favorites and despite never winning a World Cup, New Zealand has always done well in this tournament since the 1990s. They showed their class in the 1992 World Cup by surprising everyone with a fearless performance. They did well in the 1999 edition and were pretty good in the 2003 edition. In the 2015 World Cup, they were the second best side after Australia and had lit the tournament alive with their aggressive and positive play.
New Zealand always brings with it an air of positivity and calm. They do not have any airs or any more substantial than life superstars in their lineup. All they have is a passion for cricket, and they play most cleanly and soberly possible. That is what makes them the favorite team of countless fans around the globe.
In World Cup 2019, New Zealand has brought that very flavor in the tournament with captain Kane Williamson himself leading the way. This is a talented and impressive bunch which is high on confidence and form. Apart from Kane Williamson, who has 119 runs from 2 innings, there is Ross Taylor who has 130 runs from 2 innings so far. The others that are likely to make an impact are fast bowler Trent Boult, who has bowled brilliantly so far, all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, who has already picked up a five-for and opener Martin Guptill who is yet to come good.
The Kiwis have a balanced side and have already shown traces of their quality in the first week of the World Cup 2019. The next few weeks will be exciting to see. Will Kane Williamson’s men rise and leave an indelible mark this time in the World Cup? Or will they run out of fizz by the end? Fascinating times lie ahead. But one is sure that New Zealand will play with the same positivity and calm they are known for.