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5 things to know about NZ at the World T20

March 16, 2014

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Five things to know about the New Zealand team at the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh:

BANGLA BUNGLES — If there’s a kernel of doubt in New Zealanders’ minds about the ability of their team to win the World T20 it stems from its dismal recent record in Bangladesh. New Zealand has lost its last seven one-day internationals in Bangladesh, comprising a 4-0 series defeat in 2010 and 3-0 series loss last year. The most recent test series between the teams in Bangladesh was drawn. But head coach Mike Hesson remains confident New Zealand has picked a team which can perform in Bangladesh conditions.

CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN — Hesson couldn’t have imagined the storm he would unleash when he fired Ross Taylor as New Zealand captain in late 2012 and installed Brendon McCullum in his place. New Zealand cricket fans have seldom been more divided over any issue and positions became more entrenched when New Zealand went a year without winning a test under McCullum’s leadership. But McCullum’s double century and triple century in its just-completed test series win over India has gone a long way toward appeasing fans. Taylor was still New Zealand’s Cricketer of the Year after scoring six international centuries in 2013-2014.

AN OLDIE BUT A GOODY — At 35 and after more than 220 international matches in all forms of the game, Kyle Mills will lead the New Zealand bowling attack at the World T20. Mills has found his forte in recent years in shorter forms of the game. His 235 wickets in one-day internationals place him second on New Zealand’s all-time lists behind Daniel Vettori, and he is fourth in T20 internationals with 36 wickets. He says: “When I do get an opportunity it will be about leading from the front and having a sense of calmness out there in the middle.”

BOULT OUT OF THE BLUE — Nobody doubts Trent Boult’s ability in the longest form of cricket. If it needed to be emphasized, the left-arm paceman’s 30 wickets at an average of 19.2 in five home matches against the West Indies and India made a case for his recognition as New Zealand’s best test bowler. As a result, he had begun to be seen as a test specialist. While he has played 22 tests, he has appeared in only eight ODIs and three T20s, and his selection for the World T20 is a surprise. “I love test cricket, that’s where my ambitions lie, but to get opportunities like this couldn’t be better,” Boult said.

HERE’S TO YOU MR. ANDERSON — There were a few in the know who were aware of a young allrounder of prodigious talent, but the wider cricket world was still oblivious a year ago to Corey Anderson. All of that changed on Jan. 1 when, in a rain-affected ODI against the West Indies, Anderson smashed a century from 36 balls — the fastest in limited-overs history.

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