Trent Boult and Tim Southee are New Zealand’s swing kings, unassuming but deadly with the new ball, and they’re hoping to lead the Black Caps to the T20 World Cup title.
They face England in the first semi-final on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, where the two veteran seamers will be crucial in putting the brakes on opposing openers Jos Buttler and Jason Roy.
Left-arm Boult has 11 wickets in five games, trailing only Sri Lanka leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga’s 16 in eight.
Southee, who is also 32 years old, has seven wickets to his name thanks to his pinpoint right-arm seam.
Because of their dependability, New Zealand has only had to call up six bowlers for the tournament.
The other four have a total of 14 wickets, with spinner Ish Sodhi taking eight of them.
“We complement each other with the left-arm and right-arm,” said Southee, who is also a formidable batsman.
When he made his Test debut against England in Napier in 2008, he smashed 77 off 40 balls with nine sixes while batting at number ten. He also had a 5-55 with the ball.
“It’s our strength to swing it. “It’s dangerous when it swings,” Southee added.
Boult and Southee have laid the groundwork for New Zealand’s ability to strangle opposing batsmen in the World Cup.
They advanced to the semi-finals after winning four of their five games. In three of those victories, India was restricted to 110 runs in 20 overs, Namibia was restricted to 111 runs in 20 overs, and Afghanistan was restricted to 124 runs in 20 overs.
Boult unwinds between games by playing the guitar, and he’s grown accustomed to “being instrumental” headlines.
He was a latecomer to T20 cricket, making his international debut only in 2013.
Since then, he has taken 57 wickets in 39 games, in addition to 292 Test victims and 169 ODI victims.
He was the leading wicket-taker in the IPL in 2020, with 25 victims as the Mumbai Indians won the title in Dubai.
The 2021 IPL was also held in the UAE, and Boult is now flourishing in what has become familiar surroundings.
“To be honest, I’d say the conditions here are a significant challenge.” “They can change dramatically over the many weeks we’ve been here,” he explained.
“But in terms of our side, and I suppose the tools we have in our shed are a lot of experience, we have guys who can perform on certain wickets,” he says.
“You just have to take your time and make sure you’ve got a good grip on the ball and just be as accurate as you can,” he said of bowling in the Gulf’s heavy evening humidity.
Southee, who has played for five IPL franchises, has five more years of international T20 experience than Boult.
He has taken 106 wickets in 88 matches, in addition to 314 in Tests and 190 in ODIs.
His 7-33 against England in Wellington during the 2015 50-over World Cup was ranked as Wisden’s best ODI spell of the decade.
“We’ve played a lot of cricket together since the age-group days,” Southee said of his friendship with Boult.
“We both played for the same domestic teams.” We’ve formed a friendship, which helps us understand each other out here in the middle.”