New Zealand have made it to the semi-final stage of every ODI World Cup since 2007. They produced, along with England, perhaps the greatest game of 50-overs cricket ever at the 2019 final and, since that heartbreak, have gone on to win an ICC World Test Championship and make it to the final four of the T20 World Cup in 2021 and 2022. Whatever they've got in the water over there may be the key to unlocking human potential and preventing the robot apocalypse.
New Zealand landed in India having beaten Bangladesh 2-1 at their Mirpur fortress in conditions that shouldn't be too dissimilar to what they will see in the World Cup. The only problem is that was a very different squad to the one that will line up against England on October 5. Limited access to their best players has certainly been a factor in them winning just eight out of 20 ODIs in 2023. Their two most recognisable talents - Kane Williamson (3) and Trent Boult (5) - played less than half of those matches.
There's a whole lot of experience in their 15. New Zealand have set so much store on it that they are happy to carry not one but two players who are still figuring out if their very recently healed bodies can handle the rigour of a global tournament. The risk is understandable. Williamson is the team's captain and the one the whole batting line-up revolves around and Tim Southee is necessary to round out a bowling unit that includes a left-arm quick, an express quick, a legspinner and three fingerspinners.
Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young
So much of ODI cricket in the subcontinent is about top-order batters bedding all the way in and that is pretty much what Devon Conway does everywhere he goes. A left-handed hitter of spin whose off-side power game is on par, if not better than, his leg-side power game and who is managing a hundred roughly once every five innings? That's bank right there.
Glenn Phillips is must-see TV. Dude does things that end up outing even the most closeted cricket fan. *Cough* John Cena *Cough*. He sets up to bat like Steven Smith - yells of no-run included - but probably has more in common with Glenn Maxwell. Phillips' ability to hit 360 degrees and utterly ransack runs from down the order was on brilliant display at the start of the year in Karachi, where he led New Zealand to their first ODI series victory in the subcontinent since 2008. He also bowls pretty some useful offbreaks, which New Zealand might rely heavily on over the coming weeks, and is phenomenal in the field. #TotalPackage #ManCrush
Well, 12 of the 15 are over 30, and one of the other three is 29, so there's going to be a fair bit of this. A golden generation of New Zealand cricketers - Williamson, Southee, Boult - will likely be riding off into the sunset soon.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo