Cricket World Cup Diary Day 6
Matt Henry with golden chance to cement spot
After conceding 107 runs from just nine overs in New Zealand's final warm-up match, it seemed unlikely Matt Henry would get another chance to join Trent Boult as the spearhead of the bowling attack.
But, through injury he will. And this opportunity could be the one to stake his claim and keep that spot throughout the entire tournament.
Henry took two wickets in the last pre-tournament tune-up against the West Indies, but at a massive cost. It was a chance he only got because of Tim Southee’s calf problem.
Southee remained on the boundary for the opener against Sri Lanka and Henry produced a vastly improved and impressive performance, picking up three for 29 off 7.
We’ve now heard overnight the Black Caps will keep the same XI for tomorrow morning's (first ball at 12:30am) second pool match against Bangladesh.
It presents another opportunity for Henry that, days ago, he probably thought he wouldn’t get. What if he leads another strong New Zealand bowling performance to a big win? It would be hard to leave him out going forward in the entire tournament.
Henry's proven before he is a strength in the UK bowling conditions, having taken 16 wickets at an average of 34 in their domestic 50-over competition, finishing second-equal in the bowling stocks across that season.
It’s tough on Southee who's waiting in the wings and has proven in those conditions he can be difficult to handle. As well as strong numbers in England, there's no doubt the Boult/Southee combination has worked for New Zealand in the past.
But what's also worked and worked to superb effect in 2015 is consistency. That World Cup side stayed the same for almost the entire tournament and I firmly believe was a significant factor in New Zealand making it to the final.
I think either Henry or Southee can complement Boult well at the top of the order and provide the platform the Black Caps need to launch themselves into World Cup contention.
If Henry is to play well overnight, then, in my opinion, the selectors must stick with him and allow he and Boult to build a partnership in tandem that can push them forwards in the tournament.