ICC Cricket World Cup, 2014/15 news from ESPN

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

cricket world cup 2015- How the teams stack up

A look at how New Zealand and Australia's elevens match up, player to player

On Saturday, the World Cup co-hosts meet at Eden Park and given recent form and familiarity with conditions, it is a clash of the two favourites to win the tournament. Remarkably, Australia and New Zealand have not played out a full ODI since the last World Cup in 2011, when Australia prevailed in Nagpur. That is a shame, because it is hard to imagine two more evenly-matched one-day outfits right now. As these comparisons show, it is hard to split the sides, although New Zealand seem more settled and with the home advantage, might just have the edge.
Opening with a bang
Brendon McCullum & Martin Guptill v David Warner & Aaron Finch
Who would you rather, Brendon McCullum or David Warner? That has been a common question asked this week as observers consider the power batsmen at the top of these two orders. McCullum lets his bat do the talking, as he did with 77 off 25 balls against England in Wellington. Warner's mouth does plenty of talking, but so does his bat. But the question neglects the serious talent at the other end: Aaron Finch is Australia's top ODI run scorer of the past two years, and is coming off a World Cup 135 against England; Martin Guptill has New Zealand's highest-ever ODI score. On the small Eden Park ground, heaven help the record books if all four men get going.
The young rocks
Kane Williamson v Steven Smith
Kane Williamson is 24, Steven Smith is 25. Williamson has captained his country, so has Smith. Williamson is New Zealand's leading ODI scorer of the past year, Smith is Australia's reigning ODI Cricketer of the Year. Williamson has become New Zealand's most reliable batsman, Smith is Australia's. The retirement of the likes of Ponting, Tendulkar, Kallis, Dravid et al left some uncertainty about who would figure in the next generation of great batsmen. There is every chance that Williamson and Smith will lead the way.
The middle-order experience
Ross Taylor v Michael Clarke
If there are top-order wobbles, both teams have an experienced right-hander who can steady things in the middle. Australia's problem is that theirs, Michael Clarke, has played only two ODIs in the past year, got injured in both of them, and by Saturday will have spent 11 weeks without a proper international match. For New Zealand, Ross Taylor might have flown under the radar compared to some of his team-mates, but scored an ODI hundred four games ago.
The wicketkeepers
Luke Ronchi v Brad Haddin
Luke Ronchi v Brad Haddin. The subject, no doubt, of the occasional Australian selection debate circa 2008. Haddin was preferred then, but Ronchi filled in during ODIs in the Caribbean when Haddin was injured. Now they are playing for opposing countries. Both men now have a finishing role down the order, and little separates their striking ability. Haddin is especially strong down the ground, so the short straight boundaries at Eden Park may well suit him.
The seaming allrounders
Corey Anderson & Grant Elliott v Shane Watson & Mitchell Marsh
It will be interesting to see how the medium-pacers from both sides handle the small ground, whether they can contain the batsmen by using variations or nagging accuracy. Corey Anderson offers something different, being a left-armer, and his batting might is clear. Shane Watson has the experience of the quartet, but not necessarily the recent form. Mitchell Marsh took a five-for against England but New Zealand might target him, and Grant Elliott is the most overlooked of the group but also has the most recent hundred.
The spinners
Daniel Vettori v Glenn Maxwell
New Zealand will use a highly-experienced, specialist spinner who can bat. Australia will use a part-time offspinner whose dynamic batting and fielding could turn a game. Maxwell's presence contributes to Australia's very deep batting order, but at Eden Park he will have no room for error with his bowling. Vettori's experience and canniness might prove an advantage to New Zealand.
The pace attacks
Tim Southee, Trent Boult & Adam Milne v Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc & Josh Hazlewood/Pat Cummins
Richard Hadlee reckons Tim Southee and Trent Boult are New Zealand's best ever new-ball pair. Their swing and control will be a severe challenge for Australia's top order; Southee's seven-for against England was a masterclass of swing bowling. But Mitchell Starc is just as fine a swing bowler when conditions suit - no bowler has more ODI five-fors in the past three years than Starc's four. Both teams have men who can break 150kph - Mitchell Johnson and Adam Milne - but New Zealand's attack is more settled, with Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins jostling for the final spot for Australia. Execution amongst the fast men could be where this game is won or lost.
The captains
Brendon McCullum v Michael Clarke
Australia have become so used to winning without Clarke in the one-day format that it is hard to predict what effect his return could have for a side that feels more like it belongs to George Bailey. Certainly the captain-coach dynamic between Clarke and Darren Lehmann has received plenty of attention lately, thanks to Shane Warne and his comments. New Zealand's leadership is more settled. "Stephen [Fleming] was amazing in the background, the way he could organise and motivate a team," Daniel Vettori said on Thursday. "I think Brendon does that similar sort of role, but he probably does it on the field. That's why the guys have gravitated towards him so much, because of the example that he sets, particularly the way he fields, he sets an example that you have to follow."

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