T20 World Cup 2021: Strongest XI of New Zealand for semi-final against England
New Zealand and England have shared some fierce rivalry in recent times, especially in the ICC tournaments.
Updated - Nov 10, 2021 12:31 pm
New Zealand had a few doubts and also had a few hiccups. However, they managed to overcome all of that and enter yet another semi-final of an ICC event. Under the leadership of Kane Williamson, New Zealand has won all their four games, against India, Scotland, Namibia, and Afghanistan, since their defeat against Pakistan in their first game of the Super 12 round.
In the semi-final, they are up against England, who themselves had four straight wins before just losing out by 10 runs against South Africa in their last group match. With all being said, the New Zealand team looks hungry and might even qualify for their yet another final.
Here is their strongest XI for the semi-final match against England:
1. Openers (Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell)
The Blackcaps opening combination may not have delivered a huge platform in any of the matches, but both the players have managed to make some contributions which have been vital. For example, against Afghanistan, New Zealand needed a score of 125 runs to win.
Guptill, with his 23-ball 28, and Mitchell, with his 12-ball 17, made sure that the Blackcaps were not behind the required rate from the very onset. That has been their role specifically. Guptill has scored 176 runs, being the leading run-getter in this campaign for his side. On the other hand, his partner has scored 125 runs, which includes a crucial 49-run knock against India.
2. Middle order (Kane Williamson, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips)
The skipper Kane Williamson has struggled with his elbow and strike rate through the tournament, yet managed to deliver in his designated role from time to time. In the previous match, he played a well-timed knock of 40 runs from 42 balls guiding his side home in the small run chase. Conway gave him good support in this innings.
The southpaw’s 32-ball 36 was vital for his side as well, given how things had become a little tricky. For him, the knock was important, coming right before the big semis. Phillips didn’t get a hit against Afghanistan, but his 21-ball 39 against Namibia gives an indication that he is in good stead as well.
3. All-rounders (James Neesham and Mitchell Santner)
The Blackcaps all-rounders Neesham and Santner have done their respective job properly. Santner was prevented by Williamson after being slightly expensive against Afghanistan in his two overs. There was also a threat of him going against the left-handed Najibullah Zadran, who was playing him well.
That allowed Neesham to step up with the ball. He delivered a superb spell, picking a crucial wicket and also conceding only 24 runs in his four overs. Neesham is given the task to bowl only when Williamson feels he wants a little less from one of his bowlers and the role seems to be fit for Neesham, who has also batted at a strike rate close to 150 for his 46 runs.
4. Bowlers (Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Adam Milne)
The New Zealand bowling attack has been one of their biggest strengths in this tournament. Boult-Southee have turned the clocks back showing their white-ball supremacy. While Boult has picked up 11 wickets with a strike rate of 10.7, Southee has stepped up with seven scalps. What has been impressive about them is their economy, which is less than six after five Super 12 games.
Sodhi was also under-bowled against Afghanistan, much like his spin-bowling partner. But, his tally of eight wickets in five matches makes him a threat against England. The only weak link in this bowling unit might just be Adam Milne, who has picked up only two wickets in four games. However, he has kept his economy down at 6.75, which is a good thing.