Time for Kiwis to hit reset button

For a country with limited resources (both cricketing and financial), New Zealand always punched above their weight, thanks to the world-class players they have had in this era.
New Zealand's Finn Allen reacts after he was dismissed during the men's T20 World Cup cricket match between the West Indies and New Zealand on June 12, 2024.
New Zealand's Finn Allen reacts after he was dismissed during the men's T20 World Cup cricket match between the West Indies and New Zealand on June 12, 2024.(Photo | AFP)

CHENNAI: The day is finally here. After back-to-back hammerings at the T20 World Cup, the latest being a 13-run defeat against West Indies on Wednesday, New Zealand are all but out of the global event.

From the outset, it would seem like two bad days cost New Zealand their chances and yet another opportunity to make it to a semifinal of an ICC event. But there’s more to it. This WC and the results is a reflection, and perhaps, the end of a dominant decade New Zealand have had across formats. To put things into context, since the 2015 ODI WC, New Zealand men have played six semifinals and three finals in white-ball WCs and went on to win the inaugural World Test Championship. For a country with limited resources (both cricketing and financial), New Zealand always punched above their weight, thanks to the world-class players they have had in this era.

Perhaps, persisting with such players has hurt them this WC. The Kane Williamson-led side have too many players on the wrong side of 30s. The likes of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Jimmy Neesham, Ish Sodhi and Williamson have been around since forever, and have won innumerable matches for them. As many as seven players who featured against the West Indies were also part of the 2021 T20 WC final.

They might have the experience but the T20 format has changed a great deal. Williamson, who was with Gujarat Titans during the Indian Premier League, was not even a regular in the playing XI. The diminishing relevance of batters like Williamson, who often plays the anchor, and the fact that New Zealand have multiple batters who of similar type is telling.

Williamson, who comes in at No 4, has a T20I strike rate of 129.16 since 2023 while No 5 Daryl Mitchell has 135.63 during the same period. If their batting issues are about having multiple anchors and similar kinds of players, bowling concerns are different. Boult, Southee, Mitch Santner are all among the top bowlers in the world, but there is a shift in the tide. Boult has already become a freelance international, opting out of a New Zealand central contract. And it should not come as a surprise if others follow suit.

Maybe, it is time for New Zealand to move on, with the likes of Finn Allen, Rachin Ravindra, Glenn Phillips at the core. And the sooner they hit the reset button, the better chance they’ll have at returning with a stronger side come 2026. Brief scores: WI 149/9 in 20 ovs (Rutherford 68 n.o; Boult 3/16, Southee 2/21, Ferguson 2/27) bt NZ 136/9 in 20 ovs (Phillips 40; Joseph 4/19).

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