New Zealand is the only other unbeaten team in this edition of the cricket World Cup.
The Kiwis won all their six matches in order to acquire their spot to play the quarter-finals.
West Indies, on the other hand, struggled earlier in the competition and was made to fight in its last Pool match against UAE.
West Indies vs. New Zealand will be played at the WestpacTrust Stadium in Wellington. West Indies has always begun its war of words with former ODI captain Darren Sammy claiming that the pressure would be on their opponents. He also justified his claim by putting forth West Indies’ record in the knock-outs, which is not actually bad.
Nevertheless, the truth is evident. Where New Zealand earned quick wins (except the one against Australia), the Caribbean players faced their share of struggle with the possibility of being sent home looming over them.
West Indies faced defeat in their opening match against Ireland despite posting a target of over 300 runs. However, they won back-to-back matches against Pakistan and Zimbabwe, which was followed by two defeats – against India and South Africa – putting them in a spot of bother.
New Zealand would be a confident side entering the match tomorrow. They have had a week long rest with their last match played on 13th March against Bangladesh that they won by 3 wickets.
Unfortunately for the West Indies, opening batsman Chris Gayle has fired only once when he scored 215 against Zimbabwe. Besides that, his performance in this tournament has been pedestrian, which is also one of the reasons for his team’s poor show. Judging by the way the Kiwis are playing, the swashbuckling southpaw will have to rise up to the occasion.
New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum, especially, has been in terrific form with the bat. Their last Pool game also saw Martin Guptill score 105 making him an accountable player in the squad. Even their bowling has not been a disappointment with their spearhead Trent Boult being the third successful bowler in the tournament with 15 wickets.
Even though the Kiwis appear as a much superior side than the team from the Caribbean, they would be wary of the consequence that lies ahead because of one mistake. If West Indies players such as Gayle, Samuels, Sammy and even Russell fire, that would mean trouble for the co-hosts.
As far as team centuries are concerned for this tournament, West Indies edge New Zealand by 3-1. Jason Holder has already emphasised on how important it will be for his bowlers to dismiss New Zealand’s middle-order.
New Zealand cricketing legend Richard Hadlee had words of inspiration for his team. “This is four years of planning and preparation to get to seven hours of cricket and if you’re good enough, you’ll get another seven hours”, he was quoted as saying.
Both teams have also been troubled by unwanted injuries with Darren Bravo of West Indies and Adam Milne suffering the effect.
Nevertheless, though New Zealand look like the team that would win this bout, West Indies would enter the field with all guns blazing. It, indeed, will keep the audience hooked to the edge of their seats.