Preview –Strong and in-form New Zealand hold all the aces against wayward West Indies.
Quietly and steadily, New Zealand has climbed at the top of the points table in the ICC World Cup 2019 in England. With 9 points and a Net Run Rate of +1.591, Kane Williamson’s men are sitting pretty and look set to make it to the semi-final stage soon. After five games, they are the second team in the tournament so far to have remained unbeaten after India. New Zealand has won 4 games so far with their one match against India being abandoned due to rain.
Meanwhile, West Indies had started well in the World Cup, after defeating Pakistan comprehensively in their first match of the tourney by seven wickets. Ever since, West Indies has put up a dismal and inconsistent show – losing 3 of their games, while getting one point in their one game against South Africa which was abandoned due to rain.
Hence, when the Kiwis take on West Indies at Old Trafford, they will begin as leading favorites of the game. New Zealand has a well-settled unit and has most bases covered. They are in winning form, with their captain leading from the front. West Indies, on the other hand, are still in T20 mode. They are showing patches of brilliance here and there but have failed as an ODI unit overall.
What’s more is that in the last 5 ODIs between the two sides, New Zealand has won 4 of them. The last time they lost an ODI to the West Indies was back in 2014.
New Zealand’s batting has been steady, with the likes of Kane Williamson (225 runs in 4 matches), Martin Guptill (133 runs in 4 games) and Ross Taylor (131 runs in 4 games) who are going well in the ongoing World Cup and are expected to do the bulk of the scoring in this game too. Colin Munro and Jimmy Neesham would hope that they also get some runs under their belt.
New Zealand’s bowling has been excellent in the World Cup so far with Lockie Ferguson (11 wickets), Matt Henry (7 wickets), Jimmy Neesham (6 wickets), Trent Boult (4 wickets) and off-spinner Mitchell Santner (3 wickets) all being in good form in the tournament.
West Indies have a lot of issues, both in their batting and bowling. Opener Chris Gayle has been horribly out of form, notching up only 107 runs in 5 innings so far. The only shining light for them has been wicket-keeper batsman Shai Hope (186 runs in 4 innings) and Nicholas Pooran (162 runs in 4 innings). The others have been disappointing, especially big-hitting all-rounder Andre Russell (36 runs in 3 innings).
The West Indian bowling unit hasn’t done much better and was weak against Bangladesh where they regularly bowled short and wide. The likes of captain Jason Holder, Oshane Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell would have to be much more disciplined against New Zealand.
Pitch Conditions and West Indies vs New Zealand Prediction:
The pitch at Old Trafford is expected to be a belter – in the last two games here in the World Cup 2019, scores of 397-6 by England and 336-5 by India has been amassed.
If there is a cloud cover then the team batting first, might begin cautiously. But expect a score of 330+ to be made in the 1st innings.
With New Zealand’s current form and West Indies’ insipid display, the Kiwis should clinch this one easily.