They have been perennial suitors without carrying the tag of being favourites in any major tournament. Over the years, the team has punched beyond its weight humbling the powerhouses of the game on numerous occasions. Their performance in the limited over matches has earned them a certain reputation -- ignore at your own peril.
They were the semi-finalists in the first edition of the T20 World Cup in South Africa and were eliminated from the Super-8 stage of the next two. Veteran spinner Daniel Vettori was once ranked the top T20 bowler. He came out of retirement to boost his team’s chances at the tournament in the Emerald Isle. His rich international experience and familiarity with the conditions will surely come handy for the Kiwis.
Strength: Explosive batsman Brendon McCullum can tear down the bowling of the opponents on any day but off-late the wicketkeeper batsman has been off-colour. Still, the Black Caps will heavily rely on McCullum and Martin Guptill to provide a brisk start. In the middle, they have Kane Williamson and experienced Ross Taylor.
Taylor, despite his failures, has displayed his big hitting abilities with square of the wicket being his favourite area where he scores a majority of his runs.
Their pace bowling attack will be led by talented Doug Bracewell and veteran Kyle Mills. In Jacob Oram and James Franklin they have two useful all-rounders.
Weakness: Brendon McCullum happens to be the leading run-getter in T20I and well known for his big hits. His uneven form with the bat has been a concern for them. If he fails then the Kiwi batting line-up looks vulnerable lacking a big-hitter.
Not just McCullum, the team registered heavy defeats to West Indies recently in Florida and in the process lost four consecutive matches.
Opportunities: Leaving aside their recent performances, the team can hope to put up a good show in the T20 World Cup on account of their fit-again squad and the return of their most experienced cricketer Daniel Vettori.
Current form aside, in the past, the team has been a consistent performer in this format of the game and is considered a fierce competitor. Several of their players are well experienced with the sub-continent conditions owing to their participation in IPL.
Threat: They have been placed in a group that boasts of former champions Pakistan and an unpredictable Bangladesh capable of humbling anyone on their day. Therefore the team cannot hope to easily sail into the Group-8 stage and will have to dish out their best show.
Ross Taylor (captain), Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, BJ Watling, James Franklin, Jacob Oram, Nathan McCullum, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Ronnie Hira, Adam Milne.
Record: Played: 52, Won: 24, Lost: 25, Tied: 3