Elliott not stressed by New Zealand's Scotland slide
New Zealand appeared to stutter in their chase of 142 against Scotland, but as they were in pursuit of an outstanding net run rate, the team is at ease with having lost five wickets for 71, Grant Elliott has said. The hosts ran down Scotland's score in fewer than 25 overs to secure a net run rate of 2.624 - comfortably the highest in the tournament so far.
Run rate is the second criterion for ranking sides at the end of the group stage. If two teams are locked on the same number of points, run rate will decide who sits higher on the table, which in turn determines which side from the opposing pool each side will play in the quarter-finals. The higher- ranked teams in Pool A will play the lower-ranked sides from Pool B.
"We got a win and a great net run rate, so we got our objective," Elliott said. "As individuals you look at your dismissals and you chat about your dismissals with the coaches to move forward. If losing quick wickets was a common trend, it would be a concern, but we've seen in the past two months that there's been quite a lot of consistency with the batting."
Scotland captain Preston Mommsen had said his bowlers may have exposed New Zealand's vulnerabilities with the bat. However, New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said he was unconcerned by such sentiment, and echoed Elliott's views.
"First thing was to win that game yesterday, and once we got to that position, net run rate was massive," Hesson said. "We could have got the runs none down in 30 overs and been in a worse position than we've ended up in. Come quarter-final time, it's crucial where you finish.
"It was a challenging surface. Often the slower you bowl the more the ball tends to loop off the surface. It was a challenging wicket to go hard on, and when we did go hard we created some opportunities for the opposition. But I think we've showed over our last 30 ODIs that we're a good batting unit."
New Zealand were unchanged across the two matches they played so far, and though Hesson did not rule out making changes to the XI for Friday's game against England, he did confirm that that the team currently on display represented the best XI. Friday's encounter will be New Zealand's third in a week, but they are unlikely to stray far from their winning combination, despite the workload.
"The first week of the World Cup is the toughest for us," Hesson said. "After that we've got big gaps. We've got a week before the Australia game and a week again before the Afghanistan game. We've got plenty of time to rest up. The key thing is to get some wins on the board early. Once we're able to achieve that, we can consider other things later on. We don't want our top players sitting out for a week without playing a game. It's very much a balancing act. "
As usual, the greatest strain will be on the fast bowlers. Adam Milne may be particularly vulnerable, after battling niggles during January's seven-match ODI series against Sri Lanka as well. New Zealand have now played two Tests and eleven ODIs since December 26, in addition to two World Cup warm-up matches.
"The guys are pretty fit, and quite young as well," Elliott said. "They also scrubbed up pretty well after the nine one-dayers before the World Cup. I guess the only concern is the fast bowlers, but our fast bowlers are pretty fit guys, so I don't think that will be a problem."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando