They entered the competition as the No.5 ODI side in the world, but New Zealand, runners-up of ICC World Cup 2015 endured a horrific Champions Trophy and became the first team to crash out of the 8-team event in the ongoing edition.
Kane Williamson and his troops failed to win any of the three matches in the group stage, finishing last with just one point which they earned courtesy the washout in the game against Australia. The Black Caps lost to England in spite of being in the driver’s seat while chasing, but the most embarrassing moment came in their final match against Bangladesh. Chasing 266, the Kiwis had the Tigers on the mat at 33/4 before a stupendous 224-run stand for the 5th wicket saw the Asian team romp home to a 5-wicket victory with 16 balls to spare.
In this article, we take a look at five things which went wrong for New Zealand in the tournament-
Over dependence on Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor
The trusted duo of skipper Williamson and the experienced Taylor were the only shining stars in an otherwise average batting performance put up by the Kiwi unit. No.3 and No.4 in New Zealand batting line-up respectively, Williamson (244) and Taylor (138) runs accumulated for nearly 50 percent of the runs scored by entire team over the three matches.
The reliance on Williamson, in particular, can well be understood from the collapses New Zealand suffered after the dismissal of their captain. Against Australia, it the worst as they lost 7 wickets for just 37 runs in less than 6 overs. The game against England went on the same lines as the last 8 wickets contributed only 65 runs. It did improve marginally versus Bangladesh where they scored 113/6 after Williamson’s wicket, but ultimately of no avail.
Lacklustre batting by middle order trio
In all the three matches, Williamson and Taylor did the job of laying the foundation for a perfect flourish to the New Zealand innings. But repeated poor outings with the willow from the middle order trio of Neil Broom, James Neesham and Corey Anderson undid the good work and they failed to put up a big score. In the nine innings among them, the three batsmen together could only score 126 runs. While Broom’s 61 was the highest in those, much hyped Anderson mustered a paltry 18 runs over three innings. Their collective failure pegged back the Kiwis and hence it was the same case of New Zealand losing the plot from a position of strength in every match.
Openers throwing away their starts
Apart from the match against England, where Luke Ronchi fell for a golden duck, New Zealand openers were guilty of giving away their wickets after getting starts. Martin Guptill’s scores of 33, 27 and 26 all indicate the hard-hitting batsmen did the most important job of getting his eye in before a casual approach brought about his downfall. Ronchi scored just 16 against Bangladesh, but his over-aggressive batting saw him throw his wicket away after scoring a quality 65 from 43 balls. 46 was the highest partnership they could manage in three matches, something New Zealand did not benefit from.
It’s a tough one to swallow. You have to give Bangladesh a lot of credit, they’re a quality side & are always improving.” – Southee #CT17
Lack of a quality spinner
Though the English conditions are tailor-made for fast bowlers, the spinners do have a crucial role to play in these games. While other teams do have enough firepower in their spin department, New Zealand pinned all their hopes on the young talent Mitchell Santner. The left arm off-spinner hardly looked threatening to make a major impact in the game as the teams, especially Bangladesh chose to play it safe against him. As he does not have the wicket-taking ability of Daniel Vettori, Santner solely focused on being economical and played the second foil to the pace troika. This move did not click and there was very little Williamson could do except bringing on himself in the attack.
Not the ideal build up to Champions Trophy 2017
New Zealand might have won their last practice game against Sri Lanka ahead of the Champions Trophy, but suffered demoralizing losses against India and Bangladesh in the past two games. They were no match for defending champions India in the first warm-up tie, being completely outplayed and were bowled out below 200. But the real setback was the loss against Bangladesh in the final game of Ireland Tri-series final. That win not only injected a huge confidence among the Bangladesh team but also affected the morale of the Kiwis as they went on to suffer a loss at the hands of the same opposition two weeks later in the ICC event.