Cricket World Cup 2019: Tim Southee, Henry Nicholls in doubt for Blackcaps' opener against Sri Lanka

The Blackcaps could be without pace bowler Tim Southee and batsman Henry Nicholls for their Cricket World Cup opener against Sri Lanka in Cardiff, starting on Saturday night (NZ time).

On Saturday morning, Blackcaps captain Kane Williamson said he couldn't confirm the playing 11 until the final training was completed, due to injuries.

Fast-bowler Southee missed the Blackcaps' final training in Cardiff with a right calf injury, while Nicholls re-aggravated a left hamstring injury which kept him sidelined during the New Zealand XI series against Australia last month.

"Tim and Henry have some minor niggles, and that's why we can't quite name our team yet," Williamson said.   

"It's important we get through training before we make our final decisions.   

"There are a number of parts to those decisions, but relatively minor. We know it's a long tournament."

The injury to Southee means Matt Henry will likely start alongside Trent Bolt, leading New Zealand's pace attack, and if Nicholls is ruled out, Colin Munro will likely open the batting with Martin Guptill.

Despite recent injuries of their own, Williamson confirmed wicketkeeper Tom Latham and opening batsman Munro have been declared fit to play.

Latham has been racing against the clock to prove his fitness after fracturing his finger in the Australia series, while Munro has battled a foot injury which kept him out of the Blackcaps' 91-run defeat to the West Indies earlier in the week.

"Yeah, so fairly exciting for Tom. He's progressed nicely and will be available tomorrow, which is great news.

Blackcaps wicketkeeper Tom Latham.
Blackcaps wicketkeeper Tom Latham. Photo credit: Photosport

"He's very much looking forward to that, and Munro is fine with his niggle." 

The Blackcaps head into the match as favourites, having destroyed Sri Lanka 3-0 in an ODI series at home earlier this year.

Williamson said he can't wait to start playing and show the cricketing world what they're capable of.

"We're just excited to get involved. We know that there are sides ranked higher and are favourites in these conditions.   

"But once again, it's about us playing the sort of cricket that we want to be playing and showing those sort of attributes, characteristics, that are really important to us as a side to try and be a competitive side day in and day out.

"When we are that, we know we can beat anybody."


Join us for live updates of the Blackcaps' opening match of the World Cup from 9:30pm on Saturday June 1.