The 2022 T20 World Cup Super 12 starts this Saturday and all the world’s major cricket teams are preparing to make a run for the title in Australia.
One of the sides always in contention is New Zealand, currently ranked fifth in T20 cricket.
This time last year, New Zealand again defied the odds to make a deep run in an ICC tournament, making it all the way to the 2021 T20 World Cup final. Having knocked out the in-form England in the semi-finals, the Black Caps tripped at the final hurdle losing to Australia by eight wickets.
Now, the Kiwis are out for revenge. With Australia in their first game on October 22, here’s a full breakdown of the squad New Zealand have selected to head across the ditch and contest the 2022 T20 World Cup.
New Zealand Squad Analysis
Here’s who made the cut for New Zealand’s 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup 2022:
Finn Allen, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (captain), Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Michael Bracewell, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Lockie Ferguson and Ish Sodhi.
With two specialist batsmen, four wicketkeeper batsmen options, four all-rounders and five specialist bowlers, New Zealand have named a balanced side containing plenty of experience and a dose of fresh talent as well.
Potential First XI
Here’s what New Zealand’s playing XI will likely look like based on this squad:
- Martin Guptill
- Finn Allen
- Kane Williamson (captain)
- Devon Conway
- Daryl Mitchell
- James Neesham
- Mitchell Santner
- Michael Bracewell
- Tim Southee
- Lockie Ferguson
- Trent Boult
One point of contention in this lineup is whether or not to play an extra specialist bowler. Either Adam Milne or Ish Sodhi could come in to replace any one of Neesham, Santner or Bracewell to add depth to the bowling attack.
Another question is whether to start an additional batting option such as Glenn Phillips. This would also squeeze out one of New Zealand’s three all-rounders. Regardless, the wicketkeeper-batsman may be interchanged with either Allen or Conway at times as well, depending on form.
Strengths of New Zealand’s Squad
On the whole, it is a well-balanced, strong squad that New Zealand have named, with all the necessary ingredients to win a T20 World Cup. Two key strengths of this New Zealand team are:
Firepower Mixed With Experience at the Top
The top four in New Zealand’s batting lineup is about as good as it gets in international cricket.
Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill offer a wealth of experience, with 198 T20Is and over 5,500 runs at this level between them. Both men have been regulars in the Black Caps’ side for more than a decade, and provide cool heads who know what to do in pressure situations.
These two combine with the fresher talent of Finn Allen and Devon Conway, who provide incredible firepower at the top. Allen has a strike rate of 169.54 across his first 13 T20Is, while Conway is hitting at 138.28 from his 23 appearances. With Williamson and Guptill bringing the experience, these two will be free to hit from the first ball.
World Class Pace Attack
New Zealand’s answer to Broad and Anderson—Boult and Southee—spearhead a pace attack that will have the rest of the world green with envy.
With 177 T20I wickets and over 100 appearances together for New Zealand in the shortest form of the game, Boult and Southee bring both experience and wicket-taking ability to the Kiwis’ bowling lineup. Add in the pace of Lockie Ferguson, and each end of the innings is looking hard to score runs off this attack.
Weaknesses of the New Zealand Squad
As strong as New Zealand’s team may be, there are still several areas of concern that exist looking at this squad. Here’s what may trip up the Kiwis at this World Cup:
The Form of Guptill and Allen
When they’re on, they win matches. When they’re not, well, let’s just say they don’t do the Black Caps any favors.
Both of these batsmen have gone through dry patches of form over the last two years, but the Black Caps have stuck with them because of their ability to play match-winning innings. To date, that has proved to be a good call as both have come right. However, in a World Cup, there’s less margin for error.
If Guptill or Allen aren’t seeing the ball well, will New Zealand have the guts to drop one of their regulars, or will they stick with them to the detriment of the team?
Reliance on Boult and Southee
Right now, the Kiwi bowling attack looks excellent.
Should either of their 33-year-old strike bowlers suffer an injury, however, the picture starts to look quite different. An erratic Ferguson or expensive Milne bowling at the death in a T20 World Cup final is the kind of scenario that keeps Black Caps fans up at night.
For New Zealand to have a shot at going one further in this World Cup, they’ll need both Boult and Southee to remain fit.
Predicted Performers for New Zealand
With a team full of potential, here are two players we think will stand out for New Zealand this World Cup:
- Martin Guptill—the only man to play in seven T20 World Cups has a penchant for rising to the occasion. The clock only needs to be rewound a year to when the opening batsman smashed 93 from 56 to seal New Zealand’s place in the 2021 T20 semi-finals. Expect Guptill to again stand up in what is surely his final T20 World Cup.
- Trent Boult—having just refused a central contract in order to play in T20 leagues around the world, Boult will be looking to finish representing New Zealand on a high note. The fast bowler has the ability to tear through batting lineups at the top of the order, and chances are he’ll do that on the fast pitches of Australia.
Predicted Flops for New Zealand
On the other hand, two senior players from New Zealand are showing worrying signs of underperforming at this World Cup:
- Kane Williamson—with only a handful of matches so far this year, will the Kiwi captain be able to find form in time? As the captain, Williamson is a certainty in the New Zealand lineup, however, the top-order batsman has been quiet in T20s this year, only making it past 50 once in the IPL.
- Mitchell Santner—another senior player who has been the regular spin bowling option for New Zealand, but hasn’t been in the best of form. With only three wickets and 22 runs across his six IPL games, 12 wickets from ten T20Is this year, Santner may well find himself under pressure from the side’s other all-rounders.
New Zealand’s Recent Form
Here’s a look at New Zealand’s last five T20I matches:
- Lost by 6 wickets (against Pakistan on October 8)
- Won by 8 wickets with 13 balls remaining (against Bangladesh on October 9)
- Won by 9 wickets with 23 balls remaining (against Pakistan on October 11)
- Won by 48 runs (against Bangladesh on October 12)
- Lost by 5 wickets with 3 balls remaining (against Pakistan on October 14)
Overall, New Zealand are 12-3 in T20Is this year.
Prediction for New Zealand’s Super 12 Matches
Looking ahead to New Zealand’s initial games in the 2022 T20 World Cup, the side will play five group matches in an attempt to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition. Here’s a look at the schedule, and our predictions for each match:
- October 22—Australia (Australia to win)
- October 26—Afghanistan (New Zealand to win)
- October 29—Group A winner (New Zealand to win)
- November 1—England (New Zealand to win)
- November 4—Group B winner (New Zealand to win)
Overall, we see New Zealand going 4-1 through the Super 12 phase of the tournament, and likely qualifying for the knockout stages.
With New Zealand looking good to make it through to the semi-finals of the 2022 T20 World Cup, there’s every chance this tournament could be a repeat of last year. The Black Caps will likely play either South Africa or Pakistan in the semi-finals, both sides they’ll back themselves against in knockout cricket.
However, playing Australia on Australian pitches has been New Zealand’s kryptonite for the past few years. Chances are they’ll meet their rivals from across the Tasman in the final again, and fall one game short of lifting the silverware.
Our verdict: New Zealand will be runners-up in the 2022 T20 World Cup.