New Zealand are the current ICC Test Champion and also reached the finals of the last two 50-overs World Cup. But they were extremely unlucky to lose the last one on boundary count. They also started the last World T20 with a win over the host India and topped their group with four wins before losing out to England in semi-final. They have a tendency to punch above their weight in ICC events and will hope for the same in 2021 World T20 also despite the conditions being slightly unfamiliar for them.
New Zealand missed out on preparation in Asian conditions due to their withdrawal from the Pakistan series despite being in the country. Some of their players were part of the IPL teams and they also played couple of practice matches against Australia and England and lost both. Still these matches should give them some idea regarding their team combinations.
The top order of Martin Guptill and Davon Conway would be expected to take lots of responsibility along with the captain Kane Williamson who should play the anchor’s role. Their middle order has some good players but their exposure to these slow, low pitches of UAE could be a worry. Players like Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert and Daryl Mitchell need to take more responsibility.
In bowling they have a good pace attack in Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Kyle Jamieson. However, Ferguson and Jamieson will fight each other for the third pacer’s spot. In the spin department, New Zealand are expected to play with two spinners and both Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi should start for them.
The ability to play spin well and score at a brisk pace will be a challenge for their young middle order players and can decide their fate in this tournament. They have some of the best bowlers in the world and despite the conditions being unfavourable, their pacers like Boult, Ferguson and Southee are still expected to be effective with their pace.
New Zealand are in a relatively easier group and expected to win against Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia. They will look to ensure that they win these games comfortably and look to beat at least one of India or Pakistan which can easily open the door of semi-final for them. This being an ICC event, expect the Kiwis to surprise many.