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ICC World Cup 2019, New Zealand's report card: Of courage and heartbreak

New Zealand may have missed the World Cup trophy by a whisker but the team won millions of hearts.

ICC World Cup 2019, New Zealand's report card: Of courage and heartbreak
File photo

New Zealand were never picked as firm favourites to win the ICC World Cup 2019 title and yet the Black Caps came tantalisingly close to lifting the trophy. While many feel the Kiwis deserved to win the trophy, England managed to go past the finish line by a microscopic whisker in the final at Lord's.

Throughout the tournament, New Zealand played a sublime brand of cricket and even topped the points table for most parts of the league stage. Unfazed and unperturbed by expectations from them, reputation of rivals and powered by a belief in their own abilities, the team went about cricketing business with clinical precision. Being led by Kane Williamson could only have been a shot in the arm as the calm and composed skipper displayed leadership skills that are second to none.

As with any side in the tournament, New Zealand had a number of strengths and weaknesses that can only serve to further embolden an already revered side.

Positives:

Bowling: Led by the likes of Trent Boult, the Kiwi bowlers were super efficient in almost every single match of the tournament - all the way into the final. The team, in fact, claimed 82 wickets in the entire tournament - second only to England. The bowlers were also extremely economical.

Boult often tore into the top-order of rivals and combined well with Matt Henry and Jimmy Neesham - the trio claiming a total of 46 wickets. It was Lockie Ferguson, however, who claimed 21 scalps to emerge as the team's highest wicket-taker in the tournament.

Batting: Williamson has emerged as the biggest weapon Kiwis have against opponents - both for his leadership and for his batting. Adjudged Player of the Tournament, the 28-year-old hardly put a step wrong in the World Cup and scored 578 runs from his nine innings, apart from leading the team on the field.

Scope for improvement:

Kiwi batsmen - apart from Williamson - have areas to improve upon. Opener Martin Guptill was woefully out of form and failed to provide a solid foundation in most of the matches. And while the other batsmen fared a whole lot better than him, they were miles behind their captain in terms of batting prowess.

Results in World Cup 2019:

Defeated Sri Lanka by 10 wickets

Defeated Bangladesh by two wickets

Defeated Afghanistan by seven wickets

Match against India washed out

Defeated South Africa by four wickets

Defeated West Indies by five runs

Lost to Pakistan by six wickets

Lost to Australia by 86 runs

Lost to England by 119 runs

Semi-final: Defeated India by 18 runs

Final: Lost to England on boundary count after tied match and tied Super Over