A 2-0 victory over Pakistan in their recent Test series has helped New Zealand reach the top spot in the ICC Test Rankings for the first time in history. The Black Caps top the standings ahead of Australia, India, and England, respectively, and will now be eying up the inaugural World Test Championship in 2021.
New Zealand have been really consistent in all forms of the game over the last few years, but it is in the Test game where they have shown enormous improvement since 2017. Here is a look at how this current crop of players have been able to make history for their country.
Skipper Kane Williamson has been absolutely magnificent with the bat and is to New Zealand what Steve Smith and Virat Kohli are to Australia and India, respectively.
Williamson hit his fourth double-century for New Zealand in Test cricket in New Zealand Second Test success over Pakistan. These innings helped the hosts reached 659-9 before Williamson opted to declare.
The Black Caps batsman shows fantastic concentration at the crease, which helps him to remain there for long periods of time. It may not be as eye-catching as some players in the sport, but it sure is effective.
Having a strong bowling attacking is important in every format of cricket, but none more so than in the Test arena. 20 wickets are required to win a Test match, so without depth to a bowling attack, a team would struggle to get to the top spot in the world rankings.
In Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, and Matt Henry, the Black Caps have four seam bowlers who work impressively well together. They are all arguably just as important to the team and take their fair share of wickets.
The emergence of Jamieson has been a huge boost for New Zealand. He has picked up 36 wickets in his opening six Test matches and is up there with the best bowlers in the world at the moment on current form.
As Sports Betting Markets’ article on cricket betting tips and strategies points out, the form of the two teams ahead of a game is the most important factor to consider when it comes to backing a team. New Zealand on home soil have been on an incredible run since their last home defeat to South Africa in 2017, winning eight consecutive series.
The bookmakers made the Black Caps strong favorites in the betting to defeat Pakistan in their latest Test and they did it with ease. They now need to wait to see if they will feature in the final of the World Test Championship at Lord’s in England in May. Although they will be away from home soil if they make it there, the form they are in gives them a great chance of lifting the trophy.
In that winning period over the last four years, New Zealand have beaten England twice and been successful against India. All the top nations in world cricket now know how difficult it has become to get a positive result against the Black Caps.
New Zealand are not scheduled to play Test cricket again until the middle of 2021 where their next challenge will be to widen the gap between themselves and their rivals in the Test rankings.
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