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Pakistan vs New Zealand: Poor Form of Openers Continues to be Headache for Kiwis

Cricketnext Staff |June 26, 2019, 9:18 PM IST
Pakistan vs New Zealand: Poor Form of Openers Continues to be Headache for Kiwis

For the fifth time in the World Cup, this time at Edgbaston against Pakistan, New Zealand's openers fell before giving their team a good start. Martin Guptill and Colin Munro have been fighting form this tournament and on Wednesday fell to Pakistan's new ball bowlers for 5 and 12.

The opening partnership was worth just five runs and was broken in the second over of the innings. Guptill and Munro began the World Cup by stringing together an unbeaten century partnership against Sri Lanka in a fairly comfortable run-chase. Since then, the partnerships have gone downhill. None of their five stands post that has totalled more than 35.

It's not just the opening stand that has suffered. Even if they lose a wicket upfront, the other opener hasn't been able to kick on and make a score. Since the opening game where Guptill made an unbeaten 73 and Munro made an unbeaten 58, neither of them have gone past 35. They have registered three ducks between them and three of their six stands have been in single-digits.


New Zealand are the only team in this World Cup to play an unchanged XI in every game. In all six matches, New Zealand have played the same group. Having won all five completed matches (match against India was a washout), they didn't want to shuffle too much with their team composition but with Munro and Guptill faltering, a change could be in the offing for the business end of the tournament.

New Zealand have tried very few batsmen at the top in the build up to the World Cup. Since 2018, Guptill and Munro have opened in 26 and 27 matches respectively in ODIs for New Zealand. Henry Nicholls and George Worker were the others tried (for less than four games each) but only one of them - Nicholls - is in the World Cup team.

Guptill averages 44.56 in ODIs since 2018 and has four hundreds and three half-centuries in the format. On the contrary, Munro has had a terrible run of form, averaging 22.23. Munro has five ducks in this time frame but was curiously retained in the World Cup team and continues to be a regular starting member.


The poor performance of New Zealand's openers could also be linked to a tendency to try and attack early on. Their openers have the highest combined strike rate in the World Cup so far - 101.93 - but the lowest average after Afghanistan - 26.3. They have made three ducks and just two half-centuries (both in the same match). The combined run tally by their openers is the least for any team in this World Cup.


With another failure at the top against Pakistan, New Zealand will be pondering a change in the combination. They have Tom Latham in the playing XI who has opened before and averages 38 with three tons and eight half-centuries. They also have Nicholls on the bench who could slot into the team in place of Munro.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more