It’s another cracking contest at the Dubai International stadium where the Kiwis take on Scotland in match number 32 of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Both sides have only met once before, back in 2009, in T20 International matches. New Zealand won that match by seven wickets. The Kiwis have had a roller coaster ride in their first two encounters in this edition of the World Cup. They first lost to Pakistan in a last over chase by Pakistan and then defeated India comprehensively in Dubai itself. Williamson and his men now have to win all their remaining matches to confirm a birth in the semifinals.
On the other hand, Scotland was cruising in the qualifiers, which was in Muscat. But now, they face difficulties here in these conditions where wins have come the hard way. First, they were humiliated by an all-round performance from the Afghans. Scotland was then again defeated by a determined Namibian team. They now stand in a situation where they have to win everything that comes their way, and it will be a tough task for them to win against the in-form Kiwi unit.
Players to watch out
The Kiwi’s bowling unit was in form as they bottled the mighty Indian batting unit for just 110 runs in their quota of 20 overs. All bases look covered with this New Zealand bowling unit, from new ball bowlers to spinners to death over specialists. The Kiwi bowling attack is led by left-hand pacer and swing bowling legend, Trent Boult. The opening bowler for New Zealand is their key bowler in this T20 World Cup. Boult can pick wickets in the Powerplay and has also improved a lot in the death overs. Boult has four wickets in two matches in this edition, and if not the most, he is one of the most important bowlers in this lethal bowling unit of New Zealand.
The veteran and tactical leggie, Ish Sodhi, is our second player to watch out for in this match for New Zealand. Together, Sodhi and Santner form a complete spin bowling pair. Sodhi is the leader of this spin bowling unit and has been an important member of this team. Sodhi has also picked up four wickets in two matches and is the joint leading wicket-taker for New Zealand this year. The main factor to look out for is his economy rate. Sodhi has an impressive economy rate of 5.62 in this tournament. He is a smart leg-spinner, and the batters find him difficult to hit and eventually give away their wicket. Sodhi needs to continue his purple patch and win this game for New Zealand to gain winning momentum in this tournament.
The Scottish unit has some experience in their team, and these veterans need to step up in this huge game against the Kiwis. One of them is their bowling all-rounder Josh Davey. Josh has been their premier bowler for many years and in this T20 World Cup as well. Currently, he is the leading wicket-taker for Scotland in this edition of the T20 World Cup. He has picked up nine wickets at an average of 13.66. Davey has an amazing strike rate of 11.6 and has the best figures of 4/18 in this tournament. Scotland needs his experience in their bowling effort, and they will expect him to bowl economically and pick up some crucial wickets in this match against New Zealand.
The other player to watch out for is the Scottish vice-captain and explosive batsman Richard Berrington. Richard has been the most successful batter for Scotland in this year’s World Cup. He has scored 103 runs, which includes a high score of 70. He has hit the ball well at a strike rate of 130.37. Richard was the stand-in captain in Scotland’s last match against Namibia. He couldn’t do much as he got out on a duck, but if Scotland wants to win this match, they need their star batsman to deliver, and that too in good fashion.
Probable playing XI
The Kiwis wouldn’t want to change their winning combination. They defeated India here in Dubai itself, and the players are now familiar with the conditions. They are experimenting with Daryl Mitchell opening with Guptill, and it has done wonders till now. Conway, Neesham and Phillips need time in the middle, and hopefully, they will get a chance to unleash their talents against Scotland. They have all bases covered in the bowling unit and have looked pretty solid in their bowling performances. They will hope that their 11 players deliver another complete performance in Dubai and win against Scotland.
The Scottish captain should return to the side and replace Wallace, who struggled to hit the ball against Namibia. Scotland was unstoppable during the qualifiers, but they have been poor during the Super 12 stage. Their players are young, and they lack experience. Scotland would look to give them another chance and hope for a miracle against New Zealand in Dubai.
D. Conway (wk), R. Berrington, M. Guptill, K. Williamson, C. Greaves, M. Leask, D. Mitchell, M. Santner, J. Davey, I. Sodhi (vice-captain), T. Boult (captain)