NZ v Sco, Group A, Dunedin February 18, 2015

Elliott not stressed by New Zealand's Scotland slide

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Grant Elliot was satisfied with New Zealand's work © Getty Images

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anirudh on February 19, 2015, 18:33 GMT

    what elliot seems to say here is they got the job done irrespective of the way they did it even his mate boult had similar feelings i personally believe that as long as you are getting job done you are doing good i think though there was a touch of complacency in that chase of 142 but taking no credit away from the scots the bowled very well fought as they went down a gentle reminder or probably a warning to the icc that downsizing the wc is not yet the right idea.meanwhile nz will look at what went wrong and come out with stronger showing against england

  • Bill on February 19, 2015, 1:26 GMT

    I like the England clashes. I have never in my life known an English team that didn't think it was better than the New Zealand team. County pros (before the days of th IPL) used to have that hard nosed, no nonsense, give those natives a good thrashing approach to playing the teams from the edges of the empire... Gooch, Gower,Botham, ah those were the days..Botham with with hands in pockets, unshaven..more interested in the local wine than any boring cricket match. It was great to see Wellington turn on the welcome. There is so much complaint about the Wellington stadium over the basin as a venue. Crazy stuff. It's the very same public that demanded a modern larger stadium. It's the same public that said associate teams are a waste of time in the World Cup. The public doesn't know what it wants. Honestly,Shut up, and go support the blackcaps! Cold plastic seats and all!!

  • Dummy4 on February 19, 2015, 1:04 GMT

    When you ae trying to win a tournament....,

    When NRR is second most important criterion...,

    When wickets lost has zero roles to play...,

    When ego doesn't come in the way of your ultimate goal...,

    I would say, well done boys. It just happened to be NZ is secondary.

  • ESPN on February 18, 2015, 20:11 GMT

    Hoping for a NZ ,SA final and Ban, Ireland to play qfinals

  • Peter on February 18, 2015, 19:23 GMT

    NRR was a priority, if you are going to have an off day best to do it against an associate. NZ are deservedly one of the favourites.

  • Wrik on February 18, 2015, 19:22 GMT

    We were after the run rate and I have no problems with that. We need to take it 1 game at a time our next two games will be a challenge thus we have to be at our top most game. Scots gave us a wake up call which I belive will aid NZ ahead of these two big games. Good Luck Blackcaps.

  • Android on February 18, 2015, 16:01 GMT

    Excellent match awareness shown by nz ! Well played .

  • Al on February 18, 2015, 15:52 GMT

    I dont know why there is so much agreement amongst the masses that Aussie are in the final.....if NZ make the top of the group (after beating Aussie here in NZ with our crowd and fimiliar pitch) we will then likely meet each other in the Semi finals back in NZ (if we clear the Quarters) where they are knocked out more than likely than not....Leaving the finals between NZ and S/A ot India.....NZ is playing hard cricket and wears down the opposition with top bowling, the difference is the bowling.Our experienced bowling attack mixed with youth over Aussie anyday......dont write off NZ guys.....

  • jim on February 18, 2015, 15:43 GMT

    yeah net run rate is going to be crucial, since it appears to be Pak at 3 &probably Ireland at 4th place in pool B

  • Nix on February 18, 2015, 14:09 GMT

    I totally love NZ as my second favourite team, but whilst people keep heaping praise on them, talking them up, I honestly don't think they will make it all the way. They remind me of the runner in front for almost all of the race, only to loose it at the end when the real contender shows his steal and overtakes him. Whilst NZ have some good players like Williamson who has become an awesome player the last 24 months, they just don't have enough power to make it. As a Saffa I expect SA to fall out come the first knockout game, and realistically you would have to say Australia to win it. For me only SA and NZ can challenge the Aussies. All the best to NZ, prove me wrong!

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