2019 Cricket World Cup: Cheers Bangladesh For The Spins

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The key idea for Aotearoa's Blackcaps at the World Cup is how the kiwis adapt and while we'd much prefer a comprehensive dismantling of Bangladesh, the way the Blackcaps rode a niggly wave in their second outing was rather encouraging. Unfortunately, the Blackcaps put themselves in tough spots during their run-chase and they rode a niggly wave that they themselves created, yet they snatched a win and keep on wiggling through the tournament.

Matt Henry has emerged as a major winner from the first two games, taking 4w @ 5.03rpo vs Bangladesh to add to his 3 wickets vs Sri Lanka. With Tim Southee still outside the 1st 11, this is the ideal scenario for Henry given the buzz about his possible contributions leading into the tournament and uncertainty around the make up of this bowling attack.

Henry's success, does feel like a lovely reflection of the Blackcaps success thus far as Henry has taken 7w @ 10.85avg/4.65rpo strictly against Asian batsmen. I suspect that if Henry plays against Afghanistan, there will be more wickets and this will set up an intriguing phase of the World Cup for Henry as Aotearoa takes on more fancied teams. My gut feel is that Henry's bowling is perfectly suited to troubling second-tier-sub-continent (not quite at that India/Pakistan level) batsmen and how Henry's performances here translate to games against the better teams, is a huge yarn to watch out for.

Southee has missed the first two games and ideally, the likes of Southee, Henry Nicholls and Ish Sodhi should get rotated in to face Afghanistan. Two wins from the first two games, affords the Blackcaps the luxury of sharing opportunities and given the quality of that Southee, Nicholls, Sodhi trio, I'd suggest uncertainty around the 1st 11 is definitely lingering.

Joining Henry is Lockie Ferguson in the impressive bowler chat as Ferguson took 1w @ 4rpo vs Bangladesh, taking him to 4w @ 15.50avg/3.79rpo overall. Of the 17 bowlers who have taken 4+ wickets, Ferguson is one of two who has conceded less than 4rpo; Sri Lanka's Nuwan Pradeep has 4w @ 3.44rpo but has only played one game.

No one really associates Ferguson with economic bowling and the lazy narrative is that Ferguson is a wild joker who is an attacking weapon. I can take it further and say that Ferguson and Pradeep are the only two, of the 30 bowlers with 3+ wickets to conceded less than 4rpo. That should put some context around Ferguson's stingey spells, again with the note that these first three games for Aotearoa don't feature a top-tier opponent.

The dynamic between Ferguson and Henry entices me because I believe that Ferguson's style and skills are better translated to games against better opposition. Henry does have a fabulous history of getting sizzling hot ... in England, I'm just planting the seed to see how this situation plays out with Henry the early headliner and Ferguson creeping under the radar.

Another little note is the use of spin for Aotearoa, or lack of. Mitchell Santner got through a crafty 10ov with 1w @ 4.10rpo, playing as the lone spinner and Santner currently has 2w @ 23avg/5.3rpo in 12ov through this World Cup. Santner has 2w overall, Bangladesh's spinners took 6w vs Aotearoa and like Bangladesh, India also operated with three spinners vs South Africa with their spinners accounting for 5 wickets.

South Africa played with two spinners despite getting smoked by India, Australia rolled out Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa, while England also dabble in a spin duo with Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. That means that Aotearoa is one of the few teams who have used just one spinner and I'm not here to say whether that's good or bad because we need a greater sample size to suss out the impact of spin at this World Cup, this is just about setting the scene for selection philosophy.

Flow that scene setting idea into the Blackcaps batting innings, where numerous batsmen decided to take the piss vs Bangladesh's spinners. While this was rather funny, everything finished up all good, although if such a lack of class against spinners becomes a habit, Afghanistan's spinners will be frothing. Afghanistan's best bowlers so far have been their offie Mohammad Nabi and leggy Rashid Khan, both of whom will be ready to pounce on a similar batting display from Aotearoa.

As for Ross Taylor, it's business as usual. The timing of this 82 @ 90.10sr was fabulous as Taylor aligned with the conditions and challenge presented by Bangladesh, allowing him to work the ball around and grab control of the innings. I have no doubt that Taylor will need to do this again, multiple times in this World Cup and this doesn't mean centuries for King Rossco; it's all about how his contribution fits the game situation and whether the team wins or not.

Cue Ross Taylor statistical pleasure...

Since January 1st 2017, Taylor is averaging 71.31 through 44 ODI games.

In 2019, Taylor is averaging 75 through 12 innings

In 2019, Taylor has scored 20+ and 11 of those 12 innings. Taylor has scored 50+ in 6 of those 12 innings.

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