9. New Zealand: With one or two exceptions like Martin Crowe, Richard Hadlee and Chris Cairns, The Men in Black have always displayed as much flair as Deve Gowda after a heavy meal. Their very “Rani Mukherjee without makeup”-ness however has been their greatest strength, especially in a tournament like the World Cup, since like nuts and bolts in a machine, they could be replaced without any change in team performance. This is why they have always performed above their weight class in the World Cup.
This time though I am doubtful. First of all, the tournament is in the subcontinent where the Kiwis traditionally have a tough time. Second, their side no longer has the strength of old where they always had a long-line up of multi-utility cricketers who could bowl wicket-to-wicket, hit a quick twenty or thirty and field like the Devil. McCullum, like the Lady of Shalott, seems to have the “curse is upon me” expression that all KKR-players carry on their faces, Taylor and Vettori do not have the stature to carry the team on their shoulders to the end, and my favorite New Zealand player, Jesse Ryder, looks like Kallu Mama who was wandered away from a Ram Gopal Verma film-set with one too many in his stomach, is unlikely to make it through the tournament without falling in the gutter. They may cause one or two upsets but do not have gas in their tank to go the whole way.
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