New Zealand vs West Indies: When West Indies opened their world cup campaign, there were alarming bells ringing in all the other teams, as the Windies announced their arrival in style. They crushed Pakistan in the opening fixture and won the game handsomely. However, they couldn’t translate the same in their next matches. While Australia and England registered comfortable victories against the Windies, what was shocking is their defeat against Bangladesh.
Match 29 of the ICC World Cup will feature two-time world champions West Indies facing a formidable New Zealand. While the Blackcaps enjoy their 2nd spot in the points table, West Indies have a herculean task of winning every match from here on, in order to keep their hopes alive for the semi-finals.
West Indies have not been successful in delivering match-winning results to their team. With only 1 match as an exception, the rest of the matches saw the team with a wayward approach. They couldn’t come together as a team and fight it out. Experienced players like Chris Gayle & Andre Russel couldn’t shift the balance as they have not yet performed to the best of their level. With the senior lot failing to perform, the onus is on the younger brigade to rise up to the occasion.
The Blackcaps, on the other hand, have had a remarkable campaign this world cup. They have remained unbeaten in the tournament so far with 4 wins out of 5 matches, while 1 match getting washed out. While the victories against the Lankans and the Afghans were rather comfortable for them, it was the game against the Proteas, that brought out the best of the team, winning in such pressure situations. Their all-rounders, Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner have in-specific delivered stand-out performances, helping the team in either of the fronts.
Although West Indies won their warm-up game against New Zealand in a high-scoring match, the two teams haven’t faced each other in the last 18 months in an ODI. Their previous fixture saw the Blackcaps white-washing Windies in the ODI series 3-0. Their previous world cup fixture in 2015 also saw the Kiwis decimating Windies, after an extraordinary performance by Martin Guptill, who went onto score 237, helping the team reach a score of 393.
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Going by the stats, games between West Indies and New Zealand is that of equals. The two teams have faced each other on 57 occasions, with West Indies winning the tally contest marginally. Windies claimed 30 of those matches while Kiwis won the remainder of 27 games. It will be exciting to see if who comes on top in the upcoming game.
The match between New Zealand and West Indies is one of those very games which is not threatened by the possibility of heavy showers. The weather forecast confirms no chances of downpour through the course of the game. However, the skies will be swamped in thick clouds, however, these won’t convert to rains. The cloud cover is expected to be as high as 70%. The temperature is expected to be around the 19-Degrees Celsius mark, which makes for good playing conditions for the players. The humidity is expected to be in the 60s.
The pitch at Old Trafford in Manchester has had a reputation of supporting the teams batting second, equally. Out of the total of 47 ODIs played at the venue, 20 were won by the team batting second. However, in the ongoing tournament, the chasing team took a major beating while trying to reach the target. We saw that in the last games, where India and England decimated their opposition, who failed to chase the scores by a margin of 89 and 150 runs respectively. Hence, it may be no surprise to see the team winning the toss, deciding to bat first, put a hefty total on board, and then sweat it out to defend it.
Darren Bravo has been a major disappointment for the Caribbean team. He may have got his fair share of chances, and with no hope in sight, the team may look at replacing him. The most obvious choice to replace him could be Carlos Brathwaite. The West Indian allrounder, Carlos can solve windies’ bowing woes, by becoming the additional bowler, when in need. Another player who hasn’t been able to cast his magic in the tournament so far is Shannon Gabriel, who conceded runs at an economy of over nine, in the game against Bangladesh. Kemar Roach may replace him in the coming game.
To add to Windies’ worries, Andre Russell’s knee issue isn’t seeming to fade any time soon. Fans were hopeful of Gayle providing a consistent starter for the team, however, the mighty left-hander too hasn’t been able to deliver consistently. Shai Hope has been the torchbearer for the batting side, however, he may need to accelerate the process of run-getting. He has scored 186 runs at a strike-rate of 68.13. Evin Lewis played a pivotal role in the last game, scoring a stylish 70 runs. Nicholas Pooran and Jason Holder have shown great promise, and if they are able to deliver, the team can get way ahead of its opposition.
Probable XI: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell, Jason Holder (C), Carlos Brathwaite, Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Kemar Roach.
The Kiwis are in their dream form. They are next only to Australia in the points table as yet. They are unbeaten after five matches and making a change to their side may not be advocated. Although Martin Guptill and Colin Munro have put decent scores on the board, the team will expect them to be at the crease longer and score more runs, thereby wiping off the pressure off the middle order. Kane Williamson played the hero’s knock in the last game against South Africa, where scored a critical century to guide his team to victory.
Although Ross Taylor put a very embarrassing show in the last game, he sure is one of the most ferocious players on the side. Tom Latham, James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme are in decent form, but they will need to step up their game to put their team in the driver’s seat. Kiwis bowling department seems to be in safe hands with Lockie Ferguson leading from the front. He has claimed 11 wickets in the tournament so far. And with support from Trent Boult, who has been economical, the bowling seems to be settled.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Chris Gayle – Windies | Ross Taylor – New Zealand
FANFIGHT FANTASY CRICKET TEAMS FOR NEW ZEALAND vs WEST INDIES
TV – Star Sports
Match Timings – 18:00 IST; 13:30 local
The prediction is for the Windies to win the match.
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