The men's softball world championships is underway in Auckland, and New Zealand find themselves in the unusual position of not being defending champions.
The Black Sox are five-time world champions including a hat-trick of titles from 1996 to 2004, but lost the last final in Canada to surprise champions Australia.
It was the first time they hadn't won the title since since losing the 1992 final to Canada.
New Zealand's had an up and down build-up with losses to local club sides before finding some form with wins over the Czech Republic and South Africa.
Black Sox coach Eddie Kohlase says they can definitely win their sixth title.
Eddie Kohlase says the Black Sox are in an exceptionally tough pool, starting with the Mexicans on Friday night, followed by Colombia Saturday, Japan on Sunday, Canada Monday and Argentina Tuesday.