New Zealand’s collective decay and a glimpse of positives ahead of the World Cup

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New Zealand will face Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan respectively in their first three matches of the Cricket World Cup, their biggest chance to build the momentum. Photo Courtesy: Twitter

It has been 18 years since New Zealand have won their last major global championship. In the subsequent ICC events, the Kiwis have been consistent, yet the trophy drought still remains. Once again, going into the next year’s World Cup in England, Kane Williamson’s team is looking like a force to reckon with, at least on paper. But is this assumption backed by data?

Let’s glimpse through a statistical point of view to find out.

The Win/Loss ratio is still under control and consistent as it was around the 2015 World Cup. Back then the Blackcaps led by skipper Brendon McCullum seemed unbeatable for a better part of the 45-day long World event. Even though they lost the final to Australia at the MCG, the New Zealand fans welcomed their “heroes” back home with arms wide open. The Kiwis had featured in their first ever World Cup final, by defeating South Africa in the semi-final. They finally achieved the feat after six unsuccessful attempts in the World Cup.

But the story ain’t ‘rainbows and butterflies’ this time. The 2019 World Cup starting on May 30, 2019 will be played entirely in England as opposed to New Zealand’s home advantage ripping the Kiwis off a major luxury. And it’s not even the biggest of their problems.

A few months before the 2015 World Cup, Shane Bond announced that he won’t accept the extension offer as New Zealand’s bowling coach. The World Cup would be his last assignment with the Blackcaps. The bowling had improved significantly and the Trent Boult-Tim Southee pair were better than ever. Trent Boult evolved beautifully with white-ball, while transitioning from red-ball Cricket. Consequently, he was the joint highest wicket taker in the World Cup tournament along with Australia’s Mitchell Starc. Boult claimed 22 wickets at 16.86 in 9 matches, and overall his bowling average has remained consistent (around 25) before and after the World Cup. Boult also has a decent bowling average of 26.66 in England, but he has played only five matches in English conditions. But his partner Tim Southee’s form has deteriorated since 2015.

Tim Southee’s stats before and after World Cup 2015. He hasn’t claimed a single four or five-wicket haul since April, 2015 and his average has deteriorated from 31.02 to 44.  

Span 

Inns  Mdns  R Av  Eco SR 

5

2008-2015 

94  92  770.2  51  4064  131  31.02  5.27  35.2  4  2 
2008-2018  135  133  1130  71  6088  177  34.39  5.38  38.3  4  2 
2015-2018 41  41  359.4  20  2024  46  44  5.62  46.9  0 

 

 

The only silver lining around this cloud of Southee’s numbers is his record in England. In 16 matches that he has played in England, he has bagged 25 wickets at 28.16, which is better than his average at home.

New Zealand’s former cricketer Gary Stead was appointed as their new head coach in August, just 8 months prior to the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Former coach Mike Hesson announced his resignation in June ending an association of six years with the Blackcaps. Hesson, a man of power, along with the fearless and confident ex-skipper McCullum built and carried out transformations and led their team to success. He was the longest-serving coach of New Zealand Cricket. And McCullum, the biggest hero New Zealand could’ve asked for in a captain. And now, all of it is gone. New Zealand need to start afresh.

The ‘Baz’ impact

T 

Span  M  W  L  T  NR  W/L  RPO  Inns  HS 

LS 

NZ  Under McCullum   62  36  22  1  3  1.636  5.88  61  398  156 
NZ  Since McCullum’s retirement  44  24  18  0  2  1.333  5.44  44  344  79 

 

Ross Taylor: New Zealand’s biggest improvement since the last World Cup

World Cup 2015 was rather forgettable for the senior most player in the New Zealand team. He scored 221 runs at 31.57 in 9 matches with a highest score of only 56. On the other hand, Martin Guptill had scored 547 runs at 68.37, including a couple of hundreds, with a top score of 237. Ever since then, the tally has changed. But Ross Taylor is in the popular news again. He has regenerated his career like never before. Recently, he became the highest run scorer for New Zealand, over-hauling Fleming’s record. Rosco brought himself back as a top batsman for his side and proven himself even in away matches, especially in India.

Most runs by a New Zealand player since the World Cup final on March 29, 2015…

Player 

NO  Runs (Descending)  HS  Ave  SR  100 

50 

Kane Williamson  55  54  2  2498  118  48.03  83.99  5  17 
Ross Taylor 48 45 11 2299 181* 67.61 85.27 7 13 
Martin Guptill  51  51  6  2237  180*  49.71  93.01  6  12 
Tom Latham  51  49  4  1701  137  37.8  85.82  4  11 

(*the stats are only shown for New Zealand players with 1000 or more ODI runs since April 2015)

Highest average by any player since the World Cup final on March 29, 2015… 

Player 

Inns  NO  Runs  HS 

Average (Descending) 

Virat Kohli (INDIA)

58 14 3695 160*

83.97 

Ross Taylor (NZ) 

45  11  2299  181* 

67.61 

Rohit Sharma (INDIA) 

58  9  3234  208* 

66 

Tamim Iqbal (BANGLADESH) 

41  6  2182  132 

62.34 

Joe Root (ENG) 

65  14  3144  133* 

61.64 

(*the stats are only shown for players with 2000 or more ODI runs since April 2015)

Overall Batting strength of New Zealand’s batting in England…

Player  Span  M  I  NO  R  HS  Ave  SR  100  50 
Kane Williamson  2013-2017  14  14  1  815  118  62.69  95.99  2  7 
Ross Taylor  2008-2017  19  19  2  783  119*  46.05  82.16  2  5 
Martin Guptill  2013-2017  14  14  2  652  189*  54.33  97.31  2  3 
Glenn Turner  1973-1983  16  15  4  638  171*  58  62.24  2  2 
Stephen Fleming  1994-2004  17  16  1  516  99  34.4  70.68  0  3 

 

The Blackcaps will face Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan respectively in their first three matches of the Cricket World Cup.  It will be their biggest chance to build the momentum, their batting being the strength.

Prior to that, New Zealand will host a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka followed by a five-match ODI series against India starting in January 2019. After the series against India ends, New Zealand will play a three-match ODI series against Bangladesh. England have grown massively since a shameful run in the previous World Cup. The improvement is unparalleled and they’ve scored big totals. A run fest is what is expected in the next World Cup and to remain on top of the contest New Zealand has to make best out of their batting.

(An engineering graduate Sritama Panda tends to spend a major part of the day talking, watching and writing about cricket. She Tweets here and can be contacted via Facebook.)

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