ICC World T20 Team Preview: Aggressive New Zealand side a major threat to reach the final

Kane Williamson and Tim Southee of New Zealand train during a New Zealand nets session at Hagley Oval on February 19, 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

New Zealand took last year’s World Cup by storm on their way to the final and will be fancied to do something similar in this competition. Led by former captain Brendan McCullum, they have crafted a brand of ultra aggressive batting that heaps pressure on their opponents and back it up with quality bowling and enthusiastic work in the field.

It’s a style that has paid heavy dividends in transforming them from a middling international side to one that can compete with any team on their best day. Much of the credit must go to the relationship between McCullum and coach Mike Hesson, who between them have built an exceptional squad that have all bought in to the philosophy.

Top Performers

Kane Williamson: Williamson has emerged as one of the best batsmen in the world and is currently ranked 6th in the ICC T20 rankings. The 25 year old averages over 36 in T20 international cricket and is probably the most improved player in world cricket over the past two years. He can also chip in as an occasional bowler, which may come in handy on spinning wickets.

His recent form has been excellent, as he made two half centuries in the three match series against Pakistan in January and hit 97 in his last innings. Look for him to be one of the highest run scorers in the competition.

Mitchell McCleneghan: McCleneghan has yet to establish himself as a top quality international bowler in the longest form of the game, but in T20 his searing pace and a number of hard to spot variations make him a deadly performer.

The 29 year old took 14 wickets in last year’s IPL, demonstrating a comfort level with Indian pitches that isn’t shared by all fast bowlers. These skills mean he’ll be a vital weapon for New Zealand throughout the tournament.

Wild Card

Adam Milne: Milne is a 23 year old fast bowler who comes into the tournament on the back of an excellent series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The youngster took 10 wickets from his four T20 outings this season, forcing his way into contention for a regular place in the starting line up.

Pick your team for New Zealand’s opening game of the ICC World T20 tournament on PlayON.co