The top-5 Kiwi players who are most likely to emerge as champions for their side in England:
Brendon McCullum: Skipper of the team, McCullum has his fair share of admirers as well as critics. He will now look to tip the balance in favour of the former as he leads New Zealand in the tournament.
With a batting average of 31 in the previous edition of the tournament, McCullum got starts but failed to capitalize on them. This time, even with the added responsibility of being the captain, he would be looking to improve his personal statistics. It is this that will make him an interesting watch each time New Zealand plays in the tournament.
Daniel Vettori: Experience counts for a lot in the 50-over format. Vettori is one of the most talented veterans in the New Zealand side which automatically makes him a strong prospect for his side.
He took as many as seven wickets in the previous edition of the tournament and although has not played much in the recent months, will look to end his Champions Trophy career on an absolute high.
Tim Southee: Seen by many as New Zealand's premier pacer - despite the presence of more experienced bowlers, Southee has immense talent and ability to make the most of favourable conditions.
Not alien to playing in England, Southee will 91 wickets from 66 ODIs which alone stands testament to what this 24-year-old is capable of.
Martin Guptill: The last time he played in the Champions Trophy, Guptill hit two fifties. This time too, he stands a strong chance of adding to his ODI records and helping his side in winning causes.
A lot depends on how he handles himself in the top-half of the batting line-up with many analysts saying Guptill holds the key to how New Zealand's innings shape up. While it shouldn't be seen as pressure, Guptill at 26, has been around for some time to know the nuances of an international event.
Ross Taylor: No he isn't the captain of this team. Yes he still is a player who can never be taken lightly.
With the bat, Taylor has a menacing undercurrent and on his day, can rip any bowling attack apart with ferocious intensity. His Champions Trophy record may not do justice to his abilities but that just becomes another reason why this player must be itching to fire.
Story first published on: Thursday, 23 May 2013 18:24 IST