Struggle with the willow Kane Williamson has scored around 30% of total runs that New Zealand has got at the world cup this year. If you go through the top 10 batsmen of the tournament, there's just one batsman from New Zealand and its Kane Williamson. In fact if you stretch further, they have only two batsmen in top 20.They scored a total of 1674 runs prior to the finals at the world cup which is less than what Afghanistan got in one less game so far. Only Sri Lanka have scored less runs than New Zealand at this world cup so how they made it to the finals despite such a poor outing with the bat? Was one man show of Williamson enough for them to make it to the finals?
Ruthless with the cherry Despite a poor outing with the bat throughout the tournament, their bowling saved them each and every time. You might remember the proverb "Batsmen can give you some thrills, bowlers win you games"? Maybe you don't remember the proverb but Kiwis surely do. Their bowling might not look as ruthless on paper but the stats in the world cup are the evidence of their brutality on the opposition. The trio of Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson has blown apart almost every batting lineup at the tournament. Let's analyze the journey of Kiwi pacers throughout the tournament one by one.
Fiery Ferguson England presents the kind of conditions that seamers generally enjoy. Just go through the top ten bowlers of this current world cup and you will know what I am talking about. All the spots in top 10 are being occupied by those who enjoy the seam movement. So under such conditions, Kiwis must have expected Trent Boult to replicate the heroics of 2015 world cup but it was not him who wreaked havoc on the opposition. Lockie Ferguson who is playing his first world cup has collected 18 wickets so far in 8 innings at an average of 19.94. Known for his raw pace, Ferguson dropped his pace down a bit and focused mainly on swing and seam and the compromise paid its dividend. His consistency can be seen by the fact that he has only one four wicket haul which means he regularly got wickets, at important junctures in the tournament.
Brutal Boult Despite having an average first half of the tournament, Trent Boult recovered in the later stages to finish seventh in the list of top wicket takers. However with 17 wickets and a game to go, don't be surprised if he finishes in top five or even top three. A couple of four fers in the later stage of tournament along with Virat Kohli's wicket via a beautiful inswing means Boult is slowly moving towards his best and if he can exploit the weakness of Johnny Bairstow and Jason Roy early, don't be surprised if England are bundled out for a low score in the final.
Marvelous Matt Matt Henry, another one who bowls some thunderbolts compromised with pace at the world cup in order to extract some seam movement and stat shows that he did it successfully. 13 wickets at an economy rate of 5 might sound a bit ordinary but if you dig a bit deeper, it's him because of whom Kiwis are in the final. It was his spell of 4/47 against Bangladesh which ensured a close victory for New Zealand in the league phase. Had they lost that game they would have ended up with just 9 points leaving Pakistan ahead of them. Once again he bought out his best against the best this time in semifinal. He removed the two Indian openers which created pressure on the middle order and just when it looked like that India would recover from the collapse, he came back and removed Dinesh Kartik which nailed the game to some extent for New Zealand.
Awesome All-rounders Now if you think that only the bowlers mentioned above had an impact on New Zealand's wonderful journey throughout the tournament, you might be wrong. Kiwi All-rounders chipped in with important wickets which ensured the burden was off from the shoulders of their lead bowlers. Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner and Colin De Grandhomme collected 22 wickets together at the tournament, most number of wickets for the combination of part timers or all-rounders' at the tournament among all ten teams. Jimmy Neesham in fact is the only bowler at the world cup 2019 so far to have taken a fiver for New Zealand. Santner played his part as he nipped out dangerous Pant and Pandya in the semifinal when they were looking set to go big.
What to expect in the finals? The kinds of form all these fiery pacers are in, you would expect them to have England in all sorts of trouble if they are not on their toes initially. Trent Boult must be licking his lips to go up against Bairstow and Roy as both these batsman have a history of struggle against deliveries that nip back into them and that's what Boult loves to do.
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