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Cricket World Cup diary: Why the panic? The Black Caps are on fire

It's funny sometimes. A team wins by a skerrick in the best game of this World Cup, remains unbeaten, and yet there is seemingly an abundance of problems. Apparently.

Things didn't go to plan for the Black Caps against the West Indies this morning - the fielding was incredibly bad, some of the bowling got what it deserved from a selection of the tournament's biggest hitters, the openers got out for first ball ducks (when was the last time that happened?!) and they almost lost. Almost.

But they didn't. I've taken a bit of time to write today's diary to see the reaction to Black Caps' performance. And it's what I expected.

Drop Henry. Drop Munro. Drop Santner. Drop de Grandhomme. Drop Guptill. Who's going to be left?! They may as well get an Old Trafford-sized white flag and wave it 'til their arms fall off.

Some of the questions are valid. Munro looks to have had his chance and hasn't really done enough to continue to be an option at the top for the upcoming massive matches, which means it is probably time to make the first change of this tournament and bring in Nicholls to the top of the order.

But, in an unpopular opinion, that is the only change I would make right now. And even then, if they decided to stick with Munro I wouldn't have too much of an outcry.

The concern around Matt Henry has some validity. But, he hasn't bowled as poorly throughout the tournament as some seem to think. In fact, more often than not he's been an asset. Yes, against the West Indies he's gone for plenty (across this match and the warm-up) but I've got great news: the Black Caps don't have to play the West Indies again!

In five games he's bowled 43.2 overs picking up eight for 236. An average of 29.5 at an economy rate of 5.46. That economy rate could come down a fraction, granted, but in this day and age of ODI cricket it's not that bad. So he stays.

I'm not really sure the other three 'in question' have any case to answer. Guptill is our finest ODI opener in history, so he stays.

Anyway, as they say in cricket, "he's due". Santner's figures don't scream much, but he's done a decent enough job and can see out a batting innings if need be. And as for Colin de Grandhomme, there seems to be a concerning amount of people with an acute case of short-term memory loss as just a few days ago he played one of his finest ODI innings to get New Zealand home over South Africa.

Look, the Black Caps were average overnight in a few departments. That is a fact and they would accept that themselves. But the bigger fact is, they won the game. They remain unbeaten and they've played some very good cricket along the way. They actually played some damn fine cricket in this win over the West Indies, although you'd think it was all a dream.

Kane Williamson with a second-straight century, Trent Boult with four wickets, Lockie Ferguson rattling the cage again and Jimmy Neesham's excellent final over with a mountain of pressure on his shoulders.

There was some bad, yes. But there was just as much good. They are also officially in the semi-finals - something a lot thought was no chance.

Now there's a genuine chance they win the whole tournament. There's no pressure on this team and when there is, like there was overnight and in the closing stages against South Africa and Bangladesh, they rise to it. So take some deep breaths. There's plenty to like about this team at this World Cup.  

Lockie Ferguson celebrates the wicket of Shimron Hetmyer in the Black Caps' World Cup match against the West Indies. Source: Photosport