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ICC World Cup 2023: Can NZ repeat class?

Updated on: 05 October,2023 07:47 AM IST  |  Ahmedabad
Subodh Mayure |

Dangerous Kiwis look to win third World Cup game in a row at Motera after triumphs over today’s opponents England in 1996 and Zimbabwe in 2011; defending champions led by Jos Buttler out to live up to billing

ICC World Cup 2023: Can NZ repeat class?

New Zealanders at a training session before their opening clash with England at the Narendra Modi Stadium yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

New Zealand were deemed unlucky to lose the 2019 World Cup final to England on the basis of lesser number of boundaries. However, there are some good Motera memories for the Black Caps. They are up against the same opponents as in the 1996 World Cup opener which they won on February 14. Thanks to Kiwi opener Nathan Astle’s 132-ball 101 and pacer Dion Nash’s 3-26, NZ beat Mike Atherton’s England by 11 runs here. In the 2011 World Cup game here, Daniel Vettori’s team outclassed Zimbabwe by 10 wickets. Stand-in skipper Tom Latham is happy that his team can capitalise on a happy hunting ground and lap up the good Motera vibes.

Tom Latham
Tom Latham

“We have got that mix of experience where we are able to lean on guys around. [Some] guys have played at this ground, some haven’t. So, adapting is a real important part of playing in these conditions that can change throughout the game. It is [about] being able to think on our feet a little bit and make sure we stay ahead of the game,” Latham said during the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

Also Read: Mumbai-based Walkar and Ambatkar in opposite camps for Cup opener

“We are lucky that we have guys who have played plenty of cricket in these parts of the world, be it against India or in the IPL,” he remarked. NZ will miss two key players—captain Williamson and pacer Tim Southee—in the opening match as they are still recovering from knee and thumb injuries respectively. In their 2011 World Cup encounter at the same venue, Southee claimed 3-29 to bundle out Elton Chigumbura’s Zimbabwe for 162 to emerge triumphant.

Latham reckoned his players need to enjoy the big occasion by being together. “We are trying to enjoy the next couple of months together as a group at such a special occasion,” he added. For Joe Buttler’s army, it will be the clash to prove their supremacy again and it depends on how their big guns fire. Latham & Co have the ammunition to upset England, but they’ll need an Astle-like performance.

Over to Motera.

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