What have we learned from the Black Caps' World Cup cricket campaign so far? Andrew Alderson compiles a First XI of observations after their win in Taunton.
1. The semifinal-o-meter
Three wins from three is a top-of-the-table platform. Let's extrapolate: The first of three heavyweight contests comes against India on Thursday. A win against them, or against their final round robin opponents Australia and England, plus two wins out of three in the South Africa-West Indies-Pakistan stretch should guarantee a semifinal spot. Surely that's realistic?
2. New Zealand are yet to set a total
Each game has seen New Zealand win the toss and field, letting their bowling attack make the early play. Hopefully at some point in the round robin, their batsmen can showcase their wares across a full 50 overs to stamp their mark on a game.
3. Kane Williamson's captaincy has shone
Williamson's tactical portfolio oozes common sense rather than cavalier hunches. He's driven as much by empathy for teammates and opponents as winning at all costs. The latest examples from Taunton? Persevering with Jimmy Neesham to bring him into form with his five-wicket bag, and ushering Indian Premier League teammate Rashid Khan towards the boundary rope after he got hit during his dismissal.
4. Martin Guptill's fielding must be closing in on a half-century
Wherever he stalks - in-field, out-field, slips – batsmen feel threatened. No-one's going to steal any runs with him on the beat. Four catches and a run out have complemented his work.
5. Ross who?
Chief Luteru has rolled into England anonymously, considering he's the world's third-ranked one-day international batsman. Taylor's time at Middlesex in the English List A competition has paid dividends. He's acclimatised to conditions and subsequently made a man-of-the-match 82 against Bangladesh and 48 against Afghanistan.
6. Williamson and Taylor's running-between-the-wickets has fans nervous
New Zealand's batting greats avoided a close call against Bangladesh at 61 for two in the 12th over with Mushfiqur Rahim's premature butchery of the stumps. Perhaps the run out fear is a fallacy because of their value to the New Zealand cause, but they've got to keep their calls clear and avoid ball-watching. The trouble is, a running-between-the-wickets game situation is difficult to emulate in practice.
7. The bowling that "shook up the world"
Jimmy Neesham finished with figures of 10-1-31-5 against Afghanistan, the best figures of the tournament. If the right-armer delivers anything similar against the likes of England, India or Australia, he will provide a vital component to New Zealand's tournament prospects. His Taunton show represented a remarkable recovery after slumping to figures of 2-0-24-0 against Bangladesh at The Oval.
8. The pace trio are gelling
Matt Henry, Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson have enjoyed tournament success at different times, giving New Zealand impetus and reducing the chasing pressure for the batsmen. A swing and seam platform from Henry and Boult to get the best from the new balls, followed by the lightning of Ferguson is a logical tournament strategy. Is there scope to bring a fit Tim Southee in for Henry against India? A moot point, but you'd probably stick with the incumbent for now.
9. A turning question
The loss of the top six to spin against Bangladesh suggests that is where New Zealand are most vulnerable against their remaining opponents, particularly next against India at Nottingham on Thursday. Coach Gary Stead says the circumstances rather than the style of bowling saw them wobble at The Oval. Still, if you were an opponent, it's worthy of exploitation.
10. Mitchell Santner's the toast of the dressing room.
The all-rounder, described by former Black Cap Andre Adams as the "Ice Cold Librarian", put together a complete performance against Bangladesh. Ten parsimonious overs earned figures of one for 41 and his 17 not out off 12 balls brought New Zealand home when the going got tricky. His fielding, especially diving about the inner circle, has also been a circus act of run-saving.
11. Colin Munro versus Henry Nicholls versus Colin de Grandhomme
Balance and consistency worked for New Zealand at the 2015 tournament and Stead says they will look to emulate that in England, within reason. The form of Munro has been convincing enough to suggest he stays as opener. Nicholls was the incumbent pre-Cup, but could potentially come into the mix at No 6, pushing Neesham to No 7 if de Grandhomme struggles.