West Indies take on New Zealand in Manchester on Saturday. West Indies’ hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals are all but over after they lost to Bangladesh in their last match. New Zealand overcame South Africa in their previous game to almost guarantee them a top 4 spot.
Kane Williamson’s majestic 106 steered his side to a tense 4-wicket victory over South Africa. In a low scoring match, New Zealand were set 242 to win and claimed the victory in the final over of the match. The Black Caps now have 9 points from 5 matches, with 4 wins and one abandoned match gifting them a point.
Colin de Grandhomme also starred against South Africa with a superb 60 off 47 balls. The all-rounder scored a number of impressive boundaries with some explosive shots and although Williamson stole the show, the captain was quick to praise de Grandhomme after the match.
The New Zealand fast bowlers have been extremely effective in the tournament so far and it was Chris Morris’ turn to impress in their last match. He finished with figures of 3/49 against South Africa and delivered an imposing spell with the ball.
Colin de Grandhomme (4.16), Mitchell Santner (4.33) and Lockie Ferguson (4.45) all feature in the top 5 most economical bowlers of the tournament so far.
On the other hand, West Indies’ bowlers began the tournament well but have since proved that their opening display against Pakistan may have been a one-off. They bowled out Pakistan for 105 after just 21.4 overs with an incredible bowling performance in the first match. Oshane Thomas claimed figures of 4/27 from 5.4 overs and Andre Russel finished on 2/4 from just 18 deliveries.
Since the Pakistan win, the West Indies bowlers have been very expensive. Carlos Brathwaite went for 67 runs against Australia in their next match and they only managed to pick up 2 wickets against England. They took just 3 wickets in their last match against Bangladesh and the optimism following their opening match has quickly faded.
West Indies are known for their powerful batsmen but they simply haven’t delivered at this year’s World Cup. The likes of Chris Gayle and Andre Russel are both capable of singlehandedly winning a match but both have failed to make a substantial total so far. Gayle has just one half century to his name from four innings and looks to be past his best.
England, India and Australia were the pre-tournament favorites but New Zealand somewhat slipped under the radar. The Black Caps will have been more than happy to come into the competition unnoticed however their form so far has put them in contention to lift the trophy. They have picked up some convincing wins but their performance in their last match against South Africa was their best yet.
West Indies have been disappointing and New Zealand should add to their unbeaten record with another win on Saturday.