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Cricket: 5 players who could win us the World Cup

During the World Cup Trent Boult took the equal-most tournament wickets (22 with Mitchell Starc). Photo / Getty Images
During the World Cup Trent Boult took the equal-most tournament wickets (22 with Mitchell Starc). Photo / Getty Images

1 Kane Williamson

Why? Temperament. His reading on the fluster-o-meter is comparable to that of bomb disposal experts. Williamson defuses attacks because opponents cannot muster the ability to hate or even dislike him. He dispatches bowlers to the boundary in such a way they must almost look forward to the trip. Hell, he even had the perfect diplomatic answer when asked whether Twenty20 was his favourite format: "It's in my top three," he deadpanned.

How do the opposition negate this? Get. Him. Early.

Best statistic: A strike rate of 129. Before last night's game that was a worthy trivia question. Q: Who has the highest T20 strike rate of Williamson, Martin Guptill and Corey Anderson? A: Williamson.

2 Martin Guptill

Why? Guptill's T20 form has been outstanding over the past year. In eight T20s he averaged 50.14 with a strike rate of 160. Inscrutable at the crease, it seems a growth in self-confidence has made him less susceptible to needling. He's now a New Zealand's limited overs great.

How do the opposition negate this? Try to stop his feet moving. In the past Guptill was often vulnerable early, but the licence granted in Brendon McCullum's absence makes this increasingly rare. He is also relatively unproven in 14 T20s on the subcontinent; a strike rate of 100 is tempered by a 17.21 average.

Best statistic: Of New Zealand's five 120-plus partnerships in T20s, Guptill features in four, including the unbeaten world record 171 with Williamson against Pakistan in Hamilton.

3 Ross Taylor

Why? The temptation when listing potential match-winners is to start writing Colin Mun ... but think about it. Munro's form is phenomenal and he's gone steadily in six international limited-overs innings on the subcontinent, but he remains a wildcard at this stage. Taylor's CV is brimming with Indian experience. He must assume the anaesthetist role. When New Zealand's innings starts convulsing on the operating table, he injects the calm, a la Michael Bevan or Michael Hussey.

How do the opposition negate this? Pitch leg cutters on middle and leg early, and hope they straighten.

Best statistic: In six T20 innings batting at No 5, Taylor has been out only twice, and has a strike rate of 136 compared with a career figure of 120.

4 Nathan McCullum

Why? This is his final international hurrah before retirement. With 61 T20s, he is the third most experienced New Zealander in the format, after brother Brendon and Ross Taylor. Daniel Vettori's exit means McCullum faces the chore of sealing off the run rate against big bats on small grounds. His fearless fielding should also set a team benchmark.

How do the opposition negate this? They might not have to. He still needs to overcome a knee injury and bulging discs in his back to make the touring squad.

Best statistic: A T20 economy rate of 6.90 ranks him 20th in the format and the best current New Zealander - Vettori conceded 5.70 runs an over across his career.

5 Trent Boult

Why? Look at the uncertainty he generated during the World Cup, taking the equal-most tournament wickets (22 with Mitchell Starc). When he swings the ball early, either into right-handers or away from left-handers, he is troublesome. Also, if ever a tournament was designed for a man whose catching prowess has featured on ESPN Sportscenter, this is it.

How do the opposition negate this? Get forward and whack boundaries early to neutralise the swing, preferably setting the cross hairs on something metal or concrete.

Best statistic: 3.8 crore ($858,000). That's how much per season Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad rate his abilities. It's unlikely Boult earns the entire sum due to various contractual conditions, but there's nothing like feeling wanted.

- NZ Herald

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