The Kiwis are the good boys of modern-day cricket. While a lot of teams and players take the aggressive approach on the field, New Zealand thrust all their concentration and focus towards playing competitive cricket on the field, and not harming anyone in any possible way.
New Zealand have had a pretty good year-and-a-half in ODI cricket. Starting from 2018, they played 24 games, winning 15 of them, and losing 8. They have a calm head in Kane Williamson to lead them and some very skilled batsmen and bowlers in the ranks, many of who played during the 2015 World Cup. Under Brendon McCullum, the Kiwis reached a World Cup final for the first time.
New Zealand have been known to be consistent performers in the World Cup. They more often than not, make it to the semi-finals, but don’t get the finishing touches to their campaign right. The Kiwis have one player from Rajasthan Royals, leg-spinner and part-time rapper, Ish Sodhi. Sodhi will be gunning to make a mark in his maiden World Cup for New Zealand.
Ish Sodhi – Wickets: 39, Eco Rate: 5.33, Best figures: 4/58
Sodhi has been around for a while with New Zealand, and has been their first-choice leg-spinner as well. He has had competition from Todd Astle in the recent past, but Sodhi has edged past him in recent times.
2019 has been a good year for Ish so far. In the three ODIs he played against Sri Lanka, Ish claimed 8 wickets, including two 3-wicket hauls. He featured in two of New Zealand’s matches against the touring Indian team. While he bowled well in one of them, he got some stick in the other one.
Sodhi got a couple of games for Rajasthan Royals and bowled quite impressively. In the final Vivo IPL game, Sodhi bowled a double-wicket maiden, becoming the only Royals bowler to do so throughout the season.
The pitches in England may not be traditionally green. With limited grass on the surfaces, Sodhi has some great opportunities to turn the ball and deceive batsmen with his subtle pace variations and googlies. The leggie showed some of his skills with the bat during the warm-up games. He smashed a quick-fire 39 against the Windies that included 3 fours and 3 sixes.
New Zealand may not seem like favourites to make it to the final this time around, but they have a bunch of very experienced players in the likes of captain, Williamson, Taylor, Guptill and pacers, Southee and Boult. Their young guns have also proven to be more than handy of late. Tom Blundell scored a valiant century against Windies during a steep chase. The Kiwis will look to click together as a team, and not depend on single-handed performances. That is how they
went into the final in 2015, and if they stick to a similar recipe, they will be a force to be wary of.