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New Zealand’s Cricket World Cup Preparations Go from Bad to Worse

New Zealand, the perennial dark horses for the Cricket World Cup, positivity has been in short supply. The team captain, Kane Williamson, is facing a race to be fit for the tournament

Ankit Kanaujia
Last updated: 31.08.2023
New Zealand Cricket World Cup Preparations Go from Bad to Worse

The idea in any sport is to build momentum and confidence heading into a major tournament.

But for New Zealand, the perennial dark horses for the Cricket World Cup, positivity has been in short supply of late as they battle manfully to find any kind of lead-in form whatsoever.

Their latest misstep was a heavy defeat in the first of a four-game T20 series against England. Batting first, the Kiwis could only muster a meager 139/9 in their innings, with Glenn Phillips the only player to make a score over 25.

In reply, England made batting on the Durham pitch look easy, with Dawid Malan (54) and Harry Brook (43 not out) finding the boundary with regularity.

In the end, Dawid Malan’s men needed only 14 overs of their allocation to chase down the New Zealand target.

— England's Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) August 30, 2023

The Black Caps will now complete that series, play a further four ODIs against England and then three in Bangladesh, before heading to India to commence their World Cup preparations. They lift the curtain on the tournament in the first game in Ahmedabad on October 5 – a repeat of their 2019 Cricket World Cup final against England.

Given their recent results, the Kiwis face a race against time to find anything like the form required to challenge for the trophy once more. In fact, their fans might be better off recreating the tournament on the new Cricket 24 video game or trying their luck with the World Cup Gold slot game. With an NZ offer for Wildz casino of a deposit bonus and free spins, that’s as close as New Zealand cricket fans seem likely to get to WC glory this year.


Reasons to Be Cheerful

At least the Kiwis know that their squad will be bolstered by the return of some key figures in the weeks ahead.

Trent Boult had effectively retired from international cricket when he was released from his central contract in 2022, but the seamer seems to have had a change of heart and will now be included in New Zealand’s World Cup party.

The team captain, Kane Williamson, is facing a race to be fit for the tournament. He tore his ACL while playing for Gujarat Titans in the IPL, but he will be given a chance to prove his fitness in a series of behind-the-scenes net sessions prior to the Kiwis’ squad being announced.

— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) June 26, 2023

Jimmy Neesham has also been away from the team on paternity leave, so all told, New Zealand have three classy operators to welcome back into the fold in time for the World Cup.

Williamson is the only Kiwi to feature inside the top 20 of the ICC ODI batting rankings, while the importance of Boult – still ranked as the seventh-best ODI bowler on the planet – should not be underestimated.

If Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi can find their best form on India’s spinning pitches, then perhaps things won’t look so bad from a New Zealand perspective. However, they will need to start winning games – they’ve prevailed in just five of their last 14 outings in all formats – and fast.

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