New Zealand's captain Kane Williamson
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson's ability to rally the team around him, coupled with his sublime yet risk-free cricket, makes him stand out among the leaders. Image Credit: AP

New Zealand is one team which has always surprised the cricket pundits by making it to the knockout stages of most ICC tournaments - especially the 50-over World Cup where they were unlucky in 2019 to lose to England in the Super Over and in 2015 when they were humbled by host Australia.

They made amends by winning the ICC Test Championship this june when they beat India and won only their second ICC tournament after winning their only white ball tournament in Champions Trophy as early as 2000 in Nairobi when they incidentally they beat India.

However, their record in T20 World Cup is no so impressive. The only time they reached the semi-finals of the T20 World cup was in the inaugural tournament where they were beaten by Pakistan in but after that tournament, they have failed to reach the last four in the next six editions. The closest they came after that was in 2014 when they had a chance to beat Sri Lanka but fumbled in chasing 119 and missed out a chance to make it to last four.


This year again, not everyone has given them a chance to go the distance but you can never count a New Zealand team out of any ICC tournament. One because they come with less expectations but surprise opponents with their never-say-die attitude. Ask India, who has been always on the receiving end against the Kiwis, especially in the 2019 World Cup semi-finals in Manchester. Their overall record in T20 is 50 percent win with 15 victories and same number of losses.

Secondly, they have a captain in Kane Williamson who carries the team on his shoulders with his sublime touch and risk-free cricket. He also has the support of experienced Martin Guptill who has played more than 100 international T20s and has healthy strike rate of 137. In Glenn Phillips, they have a dangerous wicketkeeper-batsman who also boast a strike rate of 140-plus.

Their bowling attack looks more solid with Trent Boult and Tim Southee leading the pace attack with support of Lockie Ferguson and Kyle Jamieson. In Ish Sochi and Michell Santner, they have experienced spin bowlers who can be handy on the slow and low wickets of Sharjah where they shall be playing their group matches.

New Zealand is one team which might not be flamboyant like the other teams likes India and England, but they get their work done in a very efficient way.

So, count out the Black Caps on your own peril!

- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice Chairman of Danube Group