Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa ODI captain AB de Villiers believes that New Zealand are one of the favourites to win the 2015 World Cup.
De Villiers’ comments come after New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum called his side the “perennial dark horse”.
“I would not call them dark horses. I would say one of the favourites,” de Villiers said. “[They are] always a very competitive ODI team. Playing on their home grounds in their country, they’ll be even more competitive. We know what they are capable of, especially playing in these kinds of conditions. They haven’t won a big tournament for a while so they must be very motivated to do well. We are expecting a very competitive series.
“[They are] very used to the conditions over here in New Zealand and Australia. They will have a lot of home support with the games here, even in Australia as well. It is a short flight over there. They will have a lot of people right behind them and wanting them to do well. They haven’t won a World Cup so they will be desperate to do well.”
De Villiers also noted that he was not surprised that New Zealand have been helping veteran all-rounder Daniel Vettori regain his form prior to the start of the World Cup.
Vettori recently played his first one-day match in 16 months when he represented a New Zealand XI side that played against Scotland. During the match, Vettori finished with figures of 0-43 off his 10 overs.
“I played in the IPL with him and that was always the plan, to have him as part of the World Cup squad,” de Villiers said. “No surprises for me and I would feel very confident if I was in their team having Dan in the side. Huge amount of confidence, experience that comes into the side. He has done it before. He has got the world’s best batters out before.
“From a captaincy point of view it is always nice to have a guy like that in your side, right behind you, helping you with a few moves and the thought process of how you are supposed to be moving forward as a team.”