T20 World Cup: Can the Kiwis replicate their WTC success?
By reaching the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 and defeating Afghanistan by eight wickets, New Zealand has confirmed that they are the best team across all formats. After all, the Kiwis reached the final of the ODI World Cup in 2019, which they followed up by winning the World Test Championships (WTC) this year, and now they have reached the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup.
Interestingly, in all three tournaments, they comfortably thrashed India, who were pre-tournament favourites. New Zealand is clearly the most successful cricket team of recent times. So, the question everyone seems to be asking is if they will replicate their WTC success. In other words, will they win the T20 World Cup?
But before we answer that, let’s delve a little into how successful the Kiwis have been recently. Until the ODI World Cup of 2015, the Kiwis were regularly reaching the semi-finals of ICC tournaments but always failed to emerge as champions. That has changed in the last six years.
Under the able leadership of Kane Williamson, New Zealand has emerged as world beaters, pretty much the way India did after winning the ODI World Cup in 1983 and Sri Lanka did after winning the World Cup in 1996.
The Kiwis may not have the financial clout of India, England, or Australia, but on the field, they are second to none. So, in this blog, our team of experts at Fun88 will discuss whether New Zealand can win the ongoing T20 World Cup.
The Kiwis are a strong team backed by capable batters and bowlers and the best captain in Williamson
New Zealand are clearly a capable side with a lot of depth in their batting, bowling, and fielding. Moreover, they have an assured captain in Williamson. The most important thing about them is they go about their business in an almost clinical fashion, never showing their nerves.
So far, they have lost only one match and that was against Pakistan. Even in that match, New Zealand gave competition to Pakistan. While other good teams like England and Australia are erratic at times, the Kiwis seldom show inconsistency.
They come well prepared in a match and try executing their plans to perfection. New Zealand have good bowlers in Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult. Their batters like Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson, and Devon Conway are world-class.
As Southee and Boult are swing bowlers, it was felt that the Kiwis do well only when the ball swings. But by playing good cricket on the slow pitches of the UAE and Oman, they have shown that they can play well regardless of the conditions.
Before the T20 World Cup started, there were some concerns about the lack of a good spinner in the New Zealand lineup. It was understandable, too, because for any team to do well on the slow pitches of UAE and Oman, it is necessary to have a good spinner.
During the world cup, Ish Sodhi has emerged as that quality leg spinner who can take wickets at regular intervals to ensure that his team always remains in the match. Sodhi took the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in a game against India.
Against Pakistan, he took 2 wickets, which included the wicket of the in-form Mohammad Rizwan. Sodhi took 2 wickets against Scotland as well. He clearly has emerged as that quality leg-spinner that the Kiwis have been waiting for.
The important thing for New Zealand is their players are peaking at the right time. Boult took 3 wickets each against India and Afghanistan. Guptill scored a swashbuckling inning of 93 runs off 56 deliveries against Scotland.
Williamson is consistently playing the crucial role of an anchor; he scored 40 runs against Afghanistan, 25 against Pakistan, and 33 against India. There’s no doubt that New Zealand is full of talented players, who on their day, can beat any other team in the world.
Do betting odds favour New Zealand to win the T20 World Cup 2021?
Now that we know which four teams are in the semi-finals of the world cup, the question is: Can the Kiwis win the tournament? The other three teams in the last four are: England, Pakistan, and Australia.
We think that the Kiwis can easily beat Australia of these three teams. Man-to-man, New Zealand is a far superior side to Australia. The Kiwis have more depth in their batting and bowling than the Aussies.
What about England and Pakistan? Well, the betting odds suggest that both England and Pakistan have slightly better chances of winning the T20 World Cup than New Zealand.
England is in red hot form. Of all their Super 12 matches, they lost only one to South Africa. However, even in that match, England scored 179 runs in response to 189 by South Africa, which means that England doesn’t give up easily.
Their aggressive batting and penetrating bowling make them the favourites to win the T20 World Cup. England have worked hard in white-ball cricket. They won the ICC ODI World Cup in 2019. Moreover, they go around winning with a certain ruthlessness and determination, which is a bit rare.
Pakistan’s form has been a revelation in the tournament. Prior to the world cup, Pakistan were struggling to win consistently. Their batsmen and bowlers were erratic, and it didn’t seem that they had the winning combination. Even though captain, Babar Azam, showed confidence in his side, most experts weren’t willing to back Pakistan to go far in the cup.
However, when they started playing in the T20 World Cup, they proved the sceptics wrong. First, they defeated the favourites, India, comfortably. Then, they even beat New Zealand in a Super 12 match.
Pakistan have won all their matches easily in the world cup. So, New Zealand have lower betting odds of winning the T20 World Cup 2021 than England and Pakistan.
This means that it would be tough for the Kiwis to replicate their WTC success. However, it’s not as if they have zero chances of winning. It only means, in terms of probability to win, England and Pakistan have an edge over New Zealand.
That said, if the Kiwis still end up winning the T20 World Cup, it would certainly establish that New Zealand is the best cricket team of this generation in all formats and in all pitch conditions.
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