The twenty-ninth match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup will see two-time champions West Indies locking horns with New Zealand, the perennial underachievers.
The Kiwis will be favourites to beat the Caribbeans in this particular group stage match happening at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester.
Kane Williamson’s side breezed past Sri Lanka in its first match before getting on top of Bangladesh in a nervy manner.
They then went on to beat Afghanistan convincingly and their match against India at Trent Bridge was washed out.
Their last match against South Africa saw their skipper waging a lone battle to take them over the line. The Black Caps are second in the table as of now.
Meanwhile, West Indies crushed Pakistan in the opening match before losing to Australia by a slender margin and having a match abandoned due to rain against South Africa.
England beat them in the next match and in spite of having registered a high score against Bangladesh, the Caribbeans lost out there too.
West Indies are languishing in the eighth position and they would do very well to turn things around against an in-form New Zealand side.
West Indies (Probable XI): Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (WK), Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell, Jason Holder (C), Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel.
New Zealand (Probable XI): Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (WK), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matthew Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
Shai Hope vs Trent Boult
Shai Hope has been one of the best finds in the West Indian cricket team. The Barbadian wicketkeeper has 2433 runs from 57 matches, at an average of 49.65, albeit with a comparatively slow strike rate of 75.65.
The ICC 5th-ranked ODI batsman will be key if the Caribbeans are to post a good total as he has been instrumental in their cause in this tournament so far.
Trent Boult has been a vital cog in the New Zealand bowling attack over the years. The left arm Kiwi pacer is adept at testing batsmen on all surfaces, and is an excellent fielder.
From 83 ODI matches, Boult has managed to prise out 151 wickets at a good average of 25.28. His best figures in ODI cricket are 7/34, he possesses tons of ability and great control.
Boult has managed to restrict the flow of runs through one end and has thus paved the way for Matt Henry to attack the batsmen and get wickets.
Hope has been a lone warrior in the team’s cause and hence this battle between himself and Boult has the potential of being the blockbuster kind. We feel that Boult might have a slight edge though.
Sheldon Cottrell vs Kane Williamson
The fiery Jamaican pacer Sheldon Cottrell has been highly impressive in this World Cup. The left-arm pacer is a wily customer and is a proven wicket-taker.
From 18 matches, the 29-year old veteran has managed to prise out 22 wickets even though the stats do not favour him much.
But the thing that sets him apart is the bounce he has managed to extract off the pitches in England, and that ability to surprise the batsmen with well-directed short balls has been key in his displays.
Williamson is the mainstay of the Kiwi line-up and carries the responsibility of leading the team and the batting line up.
The New Zealand skipper is a prolific batsman and has an enviable record of having amassed as much as 5780 runs from 143 matches. This comes at an average of 47.38 and at a very decent strike rate of 82.20.
Fans could expect the Kiwi talisman to anchor the innings, thus making way for the other batsmen to fire their way through the Windies bowling attack.
His fighting spirit came to the fore in the last match as he inspired New Zealand to a brilliant win against a dangerous South African side with a crucial century.
Fireworks are bound to go off in this battle, as this clash might occur when the match is interestingly poised and hence, the stakes are very high.
But we believe that Williamson would manage to avert Cottrell’s bounce threat.
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Considering the team chemistry and form of the Kiwis pitted against the unpredictable nature of the West Indian team, one would only anticipate a New Zealand win by all means.
But West Indies need to win every game from now and they have the capability to defeat anyone on any given day. This makes them dangerous and it is not easy to rule out a Caribbean victory.
However, Team Cricwizz predicts that New Zealand would beat West Indies and that Kane Williamson would be the happier skipper at the end of the day.
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