Sunday, March 16, 2014

Review of Group 1 for the WT20 2014 – Part 1, England and New Zealand

The teams that make up the Group 1 – England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Qualifier B1

  • England

The English Cricket team is going through a rough phase. To say that they are the least expected team among the top 8 nations to win the WT20 2014 would not be an understatement. A traumatic Ashes debacle ended with the sacking of their charismatic coach - Andy Flower, the mid series retirement of their premier spin bowler – Greame Swann and the unsavory episode of their talismanic batsman Kevin Pietersen being forced to retire. The only good thing that happened on that disastrous tour – Ben Stokes, decided to slam the team locker after his own horror tour of the West Indies and that was the end of that, his WT20 ended even before it had begun.

The English openers Lumb and Hales are far from satisfying their critics even though they have been a part of the set up since quite some time now. Luke Wright and Eoin Morgan must fire for the England batting to be able to post any kind of total which approaches respectability. Jos Buttler and Ravi Bopara can provide the finishing touches but it remains to be seen how quickly the English batsman adapt to these Bangladeshi conditions.

The bowling will be led by their captain Stuart Broad but he is himself nursing an injury and it is unclear at this moment if he will even be a part of the team. The spin attack is led by James Tredwell, who is a defensive option to say the least. On the slow decks, England will surely miss an attacking spin option. Jade Dernbach and Chris Jordan are known to be expensive so the bowling stocks of this team look threadbare.

Overall, I feel that it will be a mighty uphill task for the England Cricket Team to even reach the Semi-Finals. I do not see them reaching the knock out stages and they will do well to even get a win or two under their belt.

Team Rating – 4/10


  • New Zealand

The New Zealand team is known to fire in the ICC events. They gel together like no other team does and fights tooth and nail with every opponent. They throw themselves around, the close in fielders start to hunt in packs to stop a run here, to effect a run out there and they back each other at all times. They inevitably reach the knock out stages snaring out some more fancied teams in the process.

The Kiwi batting is packed with explosive fire power. Their captain Brendon McCullum leads the way with his pyrotechnics. There is Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill who can both be equally devastating when they get going. Then there is the latest wonder kid, Corey Anderson, who recently slammed the fastest ODI hundred in just 36 balls against the West Indies earlier this year. And one would ignore Luke Ronchi and Jimmy Neesham at their own peril, both of whom are clean strikers of the ball.

The New Zealand bowling has some X-factor too with Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee and Trent Boult all capable of delivering match winning spells. They are experts at bowling yorkers and can crank up the speed guns too! Nathan McCullum provides the spin option with his fast off breaks. Spin is one department that I feel that the team lacks quality in, but they have plenty of other ammunition to cover up for it.

I feel that the New Zealand team has the potential to go all the way this time around if they fire collectively.

Team Rating – 8/10

Do you agree with my reviews of these two teams? What are your opinions?

Also read the Review of Group 1 for WT20 2014 – Part 2, South Africa and Sri Lanka

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