The lack of favourites tag doesn’t bother New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who says they “don’t really have a choice in what people call” the last edition’s runner-up team heading into the T20 World Cup.
New Zealand reached the final of the T20 World Cup in the UAE last year where they lost to Australia.
After losing the 2019 World Cup by the smallest of margins to England, New Zealand went on to win the inaugural ICC Test Championship title, beating India in the final last year. However, despite their consistency in recent years, an ICC title in limited overs cricket remains elusive.
“Yeah, I mean, we don’t really have a choice in what people call us, but for us we came here and try and focus on the cricket that we want to play and address what’s in front of us,” Williamson said at the captains’ press conference on Saturday.
The unassuming Kiwi added: “We had a pretty memorable World Cup a few months back and played these guys in the final. It was a great game of cricket, and these sorts of tournaments are always pretty special to be a part of.
“Everybody has different tags and rankings that go up and down throughout the year, and I suppose they end up with different names. But you come here in tournament sport on any day, anything can happen, especially looking across all these teams with match winners throughout.” New Zealand have a formidable record at ICC events. They have reached the last two World Cup finals, finished third or better at the last two T20 World Cups and won the inaugural World Test Championship.
Since their runners-up finish at the last T20 World Cup, New Zealand have had a series of favourable results, including series win against the West Indies. However, they lost to Pakistan in a tri-series final on Friday in Christchurch.
The Kiwis will play two warm-up matches, one against South Africa and India on October 17 and 19, respectively before the main tournament.
New Zealand will open their campaign against defending champions Australia in Sydney on October 22.