ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Brendon McCullum believes New Zealand can win maiden trophy, calls Kane Williamson 'fine leader'

New Zealand, often labelled as underdogs, reached their first World Cup final in 2015 under McCullum after six semi-final appearances, only to lose to Australia in Melbourne.

Agence France-Presse, Jun 23, 2019 20:31:02 IST

Manchester: Former captain Brendon McCullum says New Zealand have the firepower to win the World Cup for the first time in their history.

The Black Caps won a nail-biter against the West Indies in Manchester on Saturday to stay unbeaten at the 50-over tournament in England and Wales.

New Zealand, often labelled as underdogs, reached their first World Cup final in 2015 under McCullum after six semi-final appearances, only to lose to Australia in Melbourne.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Brendon McCullum believes New Zealand can win maiden trophy, calls Kane Williamson fine leader

After six games, New Zealand are on the top of the points table with five wins and one no result. AFP

Kane Williamson's side are almost certain of a place in the 2019 semi-finals already, sitting top of the 10-team table with five wins and a no result from six matches.

"Some people say underdogs but probably they don't see New Zealand play that often. Broadcast-wise they are not seen as often as some of the other teams and hence they are out of sight out of mind thing," McCullum told AFP.

"The World Cup historically for New Zealand has always been very, very good. I think we are second in most wins behind Australia in World Cup matches."

The cricketer-turned-commentator said his former side were gaining in confidence after a fine start and would peak for the semi-finals.

Williamson, who replaced McCullum as captain in all three formats of the game after the veteran batsman's retirement in 2016, has led by example at the World Cup with his elegant batting.

He produced another masterclass against the West Indies at Old Trafford, scoring 148 – his second successive century – as New Zealand scraped home by five runs.

McCullum said, "He is a magnificent player, turned into a fine leader. He is definitely more of an elegant type of cricketer. He is almost surgeon-like.

"He is among the most consistent players around we talk about. (Joe) Root and (Virat) Kohli and Steve Smith, all of them are quite similar. They are very much batsmen rather than power-hitters."

McCullum believes the teams currently occupying the top four slots in the 10-team table – New Zealand, Australia, India and England – are likely to reach next month's semi-finals, though he believes all the teams have vulnerabilities.

"I think the weather didn't help but the back end of this tournament hopefully we will see some really exciting cricket and clear skies," said McCullum.

"To me it's fair to say you are probably looking at England, India, Australia and New Zealand (in the semi-finals).

"Whoever is able to seize that big moment when it does arise? I'm sure New Zealand will be confident they can."

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Updated Date: Jun 23, 2019 20:31:02 IST


World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
India 9 7 1 1 15
Australia 9 7 2 0 14
England 9 6 3 0 12
New Zealand 9 5 3 1 11
Pakistan 9 5 3 1 11
Sri Lanka 9 3 4 2 8
South Africa 9 3 5 1 7
Bangladesh 9 3 5 1 7
West Indies 9 2 6 1 5
Afghanistan 9 0 9 0 0





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254