Batting triumvirate key to Black Caps' World Cup hopes

Martin Guptill.
Martin Guptill.
Three are three stars in Orion's belt. Three flavours in Neapolitan ice cream. Three laws of motion.

And three champion batsmen in the Black Caps batting order.

It is all adding up - or is it?

The World Cup gets under way in England and Wales later this month. Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson are arguably New Zealand's greatest one-day batsmen.

Those in the Martin Crowe, Nathan Astle and Glenn Turner camps are perhaps dwindling by the day.

Taylor's swashbuckling, one-legged and undefeated 181 against England in Dunedin last year was just epic. Few could have played that innings.

The 35-year-old right-hander has overhauled Stephen Fleming at the top of the New Zealand list for most career runs.

He has plastered 8026 runs at a wonderful average of 48.34.

But in the last 12 months he is averaging more than 80. That's better than Indian pair Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who are ranked by the ICC as the No1 and No2 one-day batsmen in the world.

It is an impressive record, but he has not gone that well on the greatest stage.

Taylor has been to three World Cups for a more modest but respectable return of 652 runs at an 36.22. That is well below what we are used to seeing.

In 21 innings Taylor has scored 50 or more on just four occasions. It is an underwhelming performance by his standards.

If the Black Caps are going to go deep at the 2019 edition, Taylor will need to shine and so will Williamson.

The New Zealand captain will probably finish his career with his name next to all the significant batting records.

His late cut is a work of art and his technique absolutely impeccable. His career one-day average of 45.90 is likely to head in one direction and that is up.

He averages more than 60 in England, so that is another strong sign. But at two World Cups, Williamson has been just okay and perhaps even a little disappointing. That will grate away at him.

The 28-year-old has scored 333 runs at an average of 37.00 in 13 innings. And he has just the one half century.

Guptill almost scored that many in one incredible knock. He smashed 237 not out against the West Indies in a quarterfinal match in 2015.

That boosted his overall statistics. But he scored a century against Bangladesh the week before and was the leading scorer at the tournament with 547 runs at an average of 68.37.

All going well, Guptill will face the bulk of the balls for the Blacks Caps again.

He is at his brilliant best when he is hitting the ball down the ground and has faith in the the bloke at the other end.

But here's the catch - who will that bloke be? The flaky Colin Munro or makeshift opener Henry Nicholls?

One is a poor man's Brendon McCullum and the other is a No5 or No6 filling in the best he can.

The Black Caps have warm-up games scheduled against India on Saturday and the West Indies on Tuesday.

Their opening World Cup game is against Sri Lanka on June 1.

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