ICC World Cup 2019 – Match 3: NZ vs SL – New Zealand Predicted Playing XI

ICC World Cup 2019 – Match 3: NZ vs SL – New Zealand Predicted Playing XI

New Zealand has got some tough calls to make as they head into their first game of the tournament.

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: Twitter)

In the two warm-up games that they played before World Cup 2019, the New Zealand team met with two different fortunes. While they were dominant in one game, the Kiwis were completely outdone in the other. Losing the game against the Windies by a massive margin of 91 runs would have hurt their confidence. But warm-up games aren’t something that you can go by to determine the performance of a side.

Since the teams have got the option of playing all their players, it doesn’t really give a clear idea about things. Thus, New Zealand shouldn’t dwell much upon this loss. They’ve got a bigger challenge as they will be facing Sri Lanka in their first encounter of the main tournament. Some tough calls are to be taken with the playing XI and you could expect some surprises here.

Here is the Predicted Playing XI for New Zealand:

Openers (Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls)

Martin Guptill and Colin Munro
Martin Guptill. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

New Zealand will have to take a call with their openers. While Martin Guptill seems to be the first choice opener, the side has got two options for the other spot. They’ve tried out both Colin Munro and Henry Nicholls at this position in the warm-up games. Neither of them managed to make a huge impact.

But, it could be Henry Nicholls who might be the preferred choice. The left-hander scores at a fair clip and can play the long innings. He has been the favoured to open the innings for a while now. Guptill timed the ball well in both the outings that he had. However, he couldn’t carry on for long. New Zealand will hope that he finds form in the opening encounter.

Middle Order (Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Blundell (wk))

Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Kane Williamson, the skipper of the side, will bat at three for the Kiwis. His form was a slight concern for his team before the tournament has started. But in the warm-up games, the 28-year-old brought up scores of 67 and 85. Thus, he will be the biggest strength for his team going forward and will look to carry the momentum forward.

Ross Taylor is another extremely important member of the Blackcaps’ middle order. The veteran cricketer scored a match-winning 71 against India and a lot will rely on him if his side will have to make it into the top four. There hasn’t been any official word about the fitness of Tom Latham.

New Zealand might not want to risk him for the game against Sri Lanka which is relatively a smaller challenge for them. Thus, this could pave way for Tom Blundell who is all set to make his ODI debut in the World Cup. The wicketkeeper-batsman recently scored a century against the Windies.

All Rounders (Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner)

James Neesham
James Neesham. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The all-rounders are a great power to this New Zealand side. Not only do they add depth to the batting line-up but also they change the dynamics of the balance of this team. Colin de Grandhomme and James Neesham are predominantly batsmen and can score their runs at a great pace. Furthermore, they are capable of bowling at least 5 or 6 overs each.

Even if they manage to find the slightest bit of assistance, they can make a great impact for the team. Mitchell Santner, on the other hand, bowls great lines and lengths. Thus, he manages to choke the scoring rates from one end and in the process picks up some crucial wickets. The southpaw is more than capable with the bat and can strike a few lusty blows.

Bowlers (Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi)

Ish Sodhi
New Zealand’s Ish Sodhi. (Photo credit PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

The performances of Trent Boult in both the practice games are really encouraging signs for New Zealand. The left-arm pacer was all over the Indian batsmen and troubled them with the swing. In the Windies game, where 421 runs were scored in 49.2 overs, Boult conceded just 50 runs in the 9.2 overs that he bowled and picked up four wickets.

For the starters, New Zealand could opt for Tim Southee over Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson. Southee, although not as quick as he earlier was, has got an abundance of experience and his economy rates are good. They will surely want to have Ish Sodhi in the team who adds another dimension to the bowling attack with his leg spin. It is important for him to bowl tight lines and lengths against the Sri Lankan batsmen.