news 6 days ago

New Zealand's Taylor says World Cup still wide open

AFP

Nottingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) -

New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor says it is too early to pick favourites for the World Cup, with most of the 10 teams firmly in the race to reach the semi-finals.

Kane Williamson's side have won all three of their matches to top the table ahead of their match against India in Nottingham on Thursday.

But Taylor said the round-robin format gives enough time for sides to get into their rhythm towards the business end of the tournament.

"I think it's still early on. The majority, all nine (other) teams are still, or maybe realistically seven teams still in the hunt," Taylor said.

"I think it's not only the way the draw works out, you know, if you can get into a bit of a roll towards the end -- first and foremost, you've got to get into the semi-final."

New Zealand outplayed India, who are among the favourites alongside champions Australia and hosts England, in a pre-tournament warm-up game last month.

Taylor said that his team's recent success against the Virat Kohli-led side, including their ability to deal with Indian spinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, would give them confidence.

"We've faced India a lot in recent times and had some success against them," said Taylor, who hit a match-winning 82 against Bangladesh.

"Obviously, two world-class spinners on their day. I think we've had success at different stages. We'll have to wait and see what the wicket produces tomorrow," he added.

Taylor said India would miss the injured Shikhar Dhawan and the chance to open with a left-right batting combination, with Rohit Sharma.

The Kiwis on the other hand have a right-left pair of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro, which Taylor said was useful on English grounds with shorter boundaries on one side of the wicket.

"I haven't been in the bowling meetings, but obviously Shikhar is a big loss to India. The presence, he plays very well at ICC (International Cricket Council) tournaments and has a very good record over here," said Taylor.

"Himself and Rohit Sharma have a very good partnership, and I think they complement each other well because they're right and left-handed.

"In terms of our line-up, I think we've had a similar balanced side for a long time, and when you do have a right-left hand combination, it does put pressure in different ways on the bowling opposition."