New Zealand has to decide on the gaps in the squad and give guys an opportunity to play matches so that by 2019 © Getty Images
New Zealand has to decide on the gaps in the squad and give guys an opportunity to play matches so that by 2019 © Getty Images

It was a disappointing end to a stop-start campaign as New Zealand bowed out of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 without a victory against its name. For the finalist of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, it would have been a bitter pill to swallow, but its Champions Trophy campaign went pretty much the same way as the tri-series in Ireland had done. In Ireland, one good performance was followed by another not-so-good one, and it wasn’t too different in the Champions Trophy. New Zealand probably played its best game against Australia in its opener and was extremely unlucky to be denied the full complement of points by the weather, but I don’t think it was at its best cricket thereafter, evidenced by defeats at the hands of England and then Bangladesh that knocked them out of the competition. CT 17, NZ review & marks out of 10: Rain, heavy reliance on Williamson hurt Kiwis

I thought New Zealand played ok, but there was a certain inconsistency that will concern it going forward. No one other than Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor made significant runs on a consistent basis, and when you rely on one or two players to do the running most of the time, it is just not good enough. I thought there was not enough productivity from the middle-order group of Neil Broom, Jimmy Neesham and Corey Anderson and that, more than anything else, is what will cause the creasing of foreheads within the New Zealand camp.

There will be a couple of guys in the team that will be under pressure. It’s not like they are new players, they have been around for four or so years but they didn’t get the job done. You look at the New Zealand team on paper, and there are a lot of players who have played quite a high number of games in tournament-play before, in ICC events and in World Cups. Everyone expected a bit more from the team, but that wasn’t to be. Once again, Williamson showed how good he is and I thought Taylor batted very well, but you can’t go relying on just two guys. The matches were won and lost in the middle to end overs, when you needed the middle-order to step up and it didn’t. Shakib-Mahmudullah partnership & other statistical highlights from BAN vs NZ

As New Zealand plans for the World Cup in England in two years’ time, I feel a couple of guys are going to be cut. You look at some of their ages and ask if they will be there in a couple of years’ time. With the World Cup two years out, New Zealand has to decide on the gaps in the squad and give guys an opportunity to play matches so that by 2019, they are ready for the big stage. I personally believe it is time New Zealand adds to its squad and gives itself greater options. This usually occurs when you fail in a major competition and look what’s happened to England after its last tournament failure.

I have been a little surprised that there hasn’t been as much swing as was expected throughout the tournament. I was in Cardiff for the Bangladesh game, and I think the blustery winds and the cold weather combined to have a big impact on the lack of swing. Having said that, the pitches have been outstanding, there have been several high-scoring games and it has been challenging for the bowlers. There has been some very exciting, really good cricket, and 300 no longer holds the same aura or power of intimidation that it once did. ICC Champions Trophy 2017: New Zealand-win one of Bangladesh’s finest in ODIs, says Habibul Bashar

Credit to Bangladesh, needless to say. Over the last four or five years, Bangladesh has been tough to beat at home, but it has kicked on under Chandika Hathurusinghe and is constantly improving. The way it finished off the game against New Zealand after having been 33 for four showed very good composure. There is a lot of good talent in the Bangladeshi ranks, and it will be delighted at having made the semi-final, at the fact particularly that now, it is able to compete and win away from home as well. It is proving to be a tough side to beat in all conditions, which is excellent news for world cricket.

Australia had a fairly similar campaign to New Zealand. It had one good game against Bangladesh, which was affected by the weather, and things would have taken an interesting turn had the elements not played a part. I thought Australia showed signs of rustiness, particularly in the bowling, and like a number of teams, its middle-order didn’t fire. There were also some other distractions in the background, though I am not sure how much that affected its performances. Jesse Ryder and his swag-wali topi

This tournament has already shown how even the teams are, there is not a lot between No. 1 and No. 8. You watched one game, and probably wrote Sri Lanka and Pakistan off, but in the last 10 days, we have seen that if you are not switched on, any team can beat any other team. Going into the last two league games, there is the possibility that India could miss out, that South Africa could miss out. Australia has already been knocked out. Who would have predicted all this at the start of the competition?!

It’s very important for any tournament that the host nation does well, and it is great against that backdrop that England has been playing such great cricket. It was no different from 2015 when New Zealand and Australia made it to the final. England has got on an aggressive roll, and it certainly is the team to beat now.

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