T20 World Cup 2024: SWOT Analysis of New Zealand – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

Jun 7, 2024

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New-Zealand-Team. (Photo by Matt Roberts-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

New Zealand are a team that always do well in ICC tournaments but never win them, barring their win against India in the World Test Championship final 2021. When it comes to the T20 World Cup, they managed to qualify for the semi-finals on the last three occasions and also played the final in 2021 against Australia, but couldn’t get the job done. In 2024, they are once again one of the strong contenders to win the trophy but there are a lot of things that the team needs to work on. A lot of players haven’t played much in recent times, while a few others are not in ideal form going into the T20 World Cup. 

Skipper Kane Williamson was part of the Gujarat Titans squad but played just two matches in IPL 2024 and made 27 runs. Rachin Ravindra started the season well for Chennai Super Kings but lost momentum and was eventually dropped from the playing XI. He made his return towards the fag end but couldn’t make a mark. The same can be said for Daryl Mitchell, who looked pretty ordinary throughout the season. Among bowlers, Lockie Ferguson’s form is a bit concerning.

Meanwhile, Devon Conway will make his return to professional cricket after a significant break. He missed the entire IPL 2024 owing to a fracture on the joint of his left hand but has now regained full fitness. He is likely to open alongside Finn Allen but the latter hasn’t played much cricket in recent times. Overall, there are plenty of problems for New Zealand but they are not a side that will ponder upon these much. 

They never care much about the availability of players and perform as a unit. Skipper Williamson missed some significant matches in the ODI World Cup 2023 but that didn’t affect the team much as they eventually qualified for the semi-finals. In their recent five-match T20I series against Pakistan, a lot of senior cricketers were absent due to IPL commitment and even so, they finished the series on level terms. 

New Zealand simply know the art of getting back on their feet when it matters the most. They will take on West Indies, Afghanistan, New Papua Guinea and Uganda in the league stage and the top two teams of the group will qualify for the playoffs. It’s not going to be easy for them to topple West Indies on their home turf and do well against Afghani spinners, but they have the quality. If the matches turn out to be low-scoring affairs, New Zealand would be a very difficult team to beat. But can they go the distance? Looks tough but here are some points that prove that it’s not impossible.

1. Attention to detail- Strengths

The Kiwis have a lot of experience as the majority of the players have played together for a long time and most importantly, have clarity of their roles. Players like Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Mitchell Santner, Daryl Mitchell and a few others bring a wealth of experience, which will come in handy in the T20 World Cup, as the nature of the surface will change after a certain point. 

On the other hand, the pace department is filled with match-winners. Trent Boult has done well for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2024 as he picked up 13 wickets in 15 matches at an economy of 8.06. He can pick wickets with the new ball, which can put a lot of teams in trouble. Meanwhile, even though Southee hasn’t played much cricket in recent times, he always delivers in crunch situations. With 29 wickets to his name in 22 matches, the ace pacer is the leading wicket-taker for New Zealand in the history of the T20 World Cup.

When it comes to the spin department, Mitchell Santner will be extremely vital in the tournament. He can be a game-changer for New Zealand and is in a good rhythm leading up to the tournament. The 32-year-old will partner with Ish Sodhi and the duo can wreak havoc. They can exploit turning tracks and control the middle overs effectively.

The power-hitting department also looks sorted. Glenn Phillips, who hasn’t played a single match in IPL 2024, can be extremely dangerous. He will be hungry to get runs and despite being in good form, Sunrisers Hyderabad didn’t try him in the middle. 

The Achilles’ Heel- Weaknesses

The form of certain players is a big concern. As stated previously, Williamson didn’t look in good touch in IPL 2024 and played only two matches. Daryl Mitchell, who was bought in by Chennai Super Kings for INR 14 crore, managed to score 318 runs in 13 matches and even though it looks decent on paper, the all-rounder failed to perform in crunch situations. He bowled in a couple of matches and has an economy rate of 11.66.

Barring Phillips, who too hasn’t played enough cricket in the last two months, there are not enough players who can flex their muscles when it’s needed. Finn Allen isn’t consistent while Mark Chapman, Michael Bracewell and James Neesam are good players but not hard strikers of the ball. Mitchell needs to step up and fill the gap and provide the balance that New Zealand need to win the tournament.

The crowning moment- Opportunities

All New Zealand need is a couple of wins early on. That would give them the confidence to go the distance. They can adapt quickly to the conditions and that’s a plus point but it would be a challenge nevertheless, as the players don’t have enough experience of playing in those sorts of conditions. 

Meanwhile, there won’t be much pressure on New Zealand, as it would be on other top teams like that of India, Australia, South Africa, England or Pakistan. They are always considered to be underdogs and it worked well for them.

The Perfect Storm- Threats

New Zealand’s biggest problem over the years has been their inability to deliver in crunch situations. They make sure to qualify for the knockouts but coming into the business end of the tournament, they fail. It is one of the problems that the team needs to address before the start of the tournament. They should be charged up morally heading into the tournament, as their campaign starts on June 8 against Afghanistan.

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