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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 09:56 GMT
Agnew's World Cup verdict - New Zealand
AustraliaSri LankaNew ZealandPakistanSouth AfricaEnglandEnglandIndia

By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

New Zealand
One or two observers really rate New Zealand, who for me are as close to a one-man team as you can get.

Fast bowler Shane Bond is their team; he is their prospects.

He has a remarkable record, with an average of 19.66 in one-day internationals, bettered by only three men from yesteryear - the West Indian pair of Joel Garner and Tony Gray, plus England's Mike Hendrick.

Bond is fast. He's a wicket-taker. He totally transforms what is otherwise a pretty ordinary, trundling team into one that has a cutting edge.

He bowls particularly well with the white ball and it's not an exaggeration to say New Zealand's hopes depend on him.

Sadly, he has so often succumbed to injury, but look what happens to the team when he does play.

NEW ZEALAND: SEEDED 3
Shane Bond
New Zealand have been beaten in the semi-finals four times
Their win in the 2000 ICC Champions Trophy is their highlight in one-day cricket
There's some good bowling support for Bond, with left-arm seamer James Franklin and spinner Daniel Vettori capable of very good performances.

Batting-wise, the skipper Stephen Fleming seems to be getting back into form again.

I like watching him. He's one of the best left-handers in the world, a lovely player, a great captain, a very level-headed, calm leader with plenty of experience.

Nathan Astle has retired, however, and they might miss his ability to score quickly at the top of the order.

Some of the batsmen, like Ross Taylor and Peter Fulton, are very inexperienced.

They have recently batted pretty well as a team on really good wickets, but less well on slower decks and they might not get too many belting tracks in the Caribbean.

Jacob Oram's broken finger has forced him out of the vital group match against England, but he should be back for the Super Eights.

That will be important for the Kiwis, because he's a decent cricketer who can smack fours and sixes about in the lower order and bowl decent medium pace too.



SEE ALSO
New Zealand - Players to watch
22 Feb 07 |  New Zealand
Cricket World Cup 2007 schedule
20 Jul 05 |  Cricket
How the World Cup evolved
15 Feb 07 |  International Teams
Cricket World Cup records
14 Feb 07 |  Cricket


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