Rusty New Zealand in danger of early exit at the hands of West Indies

West Indies

Match details

West Indies vs New Zealand
Tarouba, 8.30pm local

Big picture – WI eye Super Eight spot

Since 2015, New Zealand have been the most consistent side in World Cups, making it to the semi-final in all six editions – in 2015, 2019 and 2023 in the ODI World Cup, and in 2016, 2021 and 2022 in the T20 versions. They reached the final on three of those occasions even though they never lifted the trophy.

But at the 2024 T20 World Cup, they are in danger of elimination after just one match. An 84-run thrashing at the hands of Afghanistan means the game against West Indies is almost a virtual knockout for them.

The loss against Afghanistan, during which they looked rusty with bat as well as in the field, also put under scrutiny their refusal to play any warm-up games.

West Indies, too, started their campaign in a stuttering manner, taking 19 overs to chase down 137 against Papua New Guinea. But they roared back to bundle out Uganda for 39 to register a 134-run win. If they beat New Zealand, they will become the first team from Group C to qualify for the Super Eight.

West Indies know this is their toughest challenge yet but, as their captain Rovman Powell said, “if there is a good time to play New Zealand, it is now”.

This is the first men’s T20 World Cup game in Trinidad; they did not get any in 2010. That could be one reason the ICC is expecting a strong crowd, probably a sell-out.

Form guide

West Indies WWWWW (last five T20Is, most recent first)
New Zealand LLWWL

In the spotlight – Roston Chase and Kane Williamson

With just 15 T20I caps, Roston Chase is one of the least experienced players in the West Indies squad. But given the low-scoring pitches in the World Cup so far, he has emerged as one of their most important players, thanks to his ability to play the anchor’s role and bowl economical offspin. In five T20Is this year, Chase has scored 178 runs at a strike rate of 154.78 and picked up four wickets at an economy of 5.92.

In the Afghanistan game, nothing symbolised New Zealand’s rustiness more than Kane Williamson‘s dismissal: steering the ball into the hands of first slip off Rashid Khan. Between the last T20 World Cup and this one, Williamson played just eight T20s. Even though he was with Gujarat Titans for IPL 2024, he featured in only two games. The reason being Williamson is not your modern, power-hitting T20 batter, but he could hold the key to his team’s chances on these pitches.

Team news – Sodhi in for a seamer?

West Indies are likely to field the same XI for the third successive game.

West Indies (probable XI): 1 Brandon King, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 4 Roston Chase, 5 Rovman Powell (capt), 6 Sherfane Rutherford, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Romario Shepherd, 9 Akeal Hosein, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Gudakesh Motie

New Zealand could make a couple of changes. James Neesham might come in for Mark Chapman and Ish Sodhi for Matt Henry.

New Zealand (probable XI): 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway (wk), 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Daryl Mitchell, 5 Glenn Phillips, 6 James Neesham, 7 Michael Bracewell, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Ish Sodhi, 10 Lockie Ferguson, 11 Trent Boult

Stats and trivia – Pooran set to overtake Gayle

  • Among those who have scored at least 500 runs across all T20s since the start of 2024, Andre Russell (205.15) is the only one to have a strike rate in excess of 200.
  • Mitchell Santner’s T20 economy rate in the West Indies is 5.55.
  • Nicholas Pooran needs three runs to take over Chris Gayle’s tally of 1899 to become the leading run-getter for West Indies in T20Is.
  • Pooran has hit the most sixes (82) in T20s this year.

Pitch and conditions – Another low-scoring game?

There was lots of rain on Wednesday due to which West Indies had to cancel their training. New Zealand cut short theirs because of “unacceptable” practice pitches. There is no forecast for rain on the match day, though. Since the start of 2021, the average first-innings total in Tarouba has been 167 and it could once again be a low-scoring game.


“Not just playing at RR, cricket is a global sport now with a lot of technology around. So everything you do in every single game is available to everyone around the world. Thankfully for us, we have a very good analyst who has figured out some of the strengths and weaknesses of Trent Boult. So hopefully tomorrow we can mitigate his strengths and try to capitalise.”
West Indies captain Rovman Powell on playing against his IPL team-mate

“From talking with a few of the West Indies boys and getting some understanding of what it plays like, they said sometimes it could be a sort of scrappy wicket around that 140-150 [mark]. And then there have been some games where it has been high-scoring. I look forward to the challenge tomorrow and try to adapt as quickly as possible.”
New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson on the pitch

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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