New Delhi [India]: A resilient New Zealand will once again step out on the field of cricket seeking revenge for wounds that were inflicted on them by hard-hitting England four years ago. They will re-ignite their rivalry once again in the ODI World Cup campaign opener on Thursday.
This time with the date and venue being different, the Kiwis will look to change the outcome of the previous chapter as both teams will feature in the biggest stadium of the world Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium.
New Zealand will be relying on their consistency which comes on the back of having reached the final in the last two editions and the semi-finals eight times.
New Zealand will be entering the stadium without the player who was pivotal in their previous campaign – Kane Williamson.
The Blackcaps star featured 10 times and scored 578 runs averaging 82.57 with a strike rate of 74.96.
“Yeah I guess any team that doesn’t have Kane in it is obviously…we’d certainly be better off having him. But I think from our point of view for him to be here, to be at the World Cup is a testament to, I think the work that he’s put on over the last four to five months to be where he is,” Latham said in a press conference as quoted from ICC.
Along with this their star pacer Tim Southee who has amassed 214 wickets in the 50-over format will also be a notable absentee.
“He (Southee) is unavailable for selection just in terms of what happened to his thumb a couple of weeks ago, but he’s recovering nicely,” Latham added.
Even the England camp has not been left untouched by the injuries, Ben Stokes who reversed his retirement in the 50-over format just to mark his presence in the World Cup is battling a hip issue and won’t take on the Kiwis.
The last time he featured in the mega event, he lit the entire Lord’s with his unbeaten 84 to pull the Three Lions back into the game.
“We’ve been nursing a few guys over the last month or so. Hopefully we’ll have a clean bill of health to pick from. He (Stokes) got a slight sort of niggle with his hip, but fingers crossed that that’ll be good news for us. He’s working hard with the physios and we’ll know more when the guys arrive for training today,” Buttler said in a press conference.
“Whether he (Stokes) is not fit to play, he’s not fit to play. If he is, then we can make that decision. But it’s not a time to take big risks on someone at the start of the tournament.
Nearer the end, maybe do take more of a risk with people’s injuries. But, yeah, it’s going to be a long tournament,” Buttler added.
It has been hard to pull apart these two teams in the 10 matches that they have squared off against each other in the World Cup.
Both have won five a piece and will be eager to extend their winning run.
England squad: Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.