'Need to combat left-arm spin' - Taylor
Ross Taylor has said that New Zealand expect to face a lot of left-arm spin in their opening World Twenty20 match in Pallekele and have done their homework to manage the threat posed by Bangladesh's trio of Shakib Al Hasan, Abdur Razzak and Elias Sunny.
"We played a lot of left-arm spin in the nets," Taylor said. "We will play at least 12 overs of left-arm spin. We need to play them well. We have a few left-handers in the line-up so they can combat the left-arm spinners. But for the right-handers too it is important to combat them. We may play left-arm spin throughout the innings."
Apart from the opposition bowlers, New Zealand were made to sweat on the fitness of their own charges - Tim Southee, Rob Nicol and Daniel Vettori fell sick in Colombo two days ago and Kyle Mills was still recovering from the collision injury sustained during New Zealand's last match in India. However, Taylor was hopeful of a full-strength squad on Friday.
"We won't know until the end of training on whether we will have the full quota of fifteen [available players]. Every couple of hours they are feeling a little better," he said. "The weather is bit colder so hopefully they can gain some energy and be available to play."
Taylor said New Zealand, who are in a tough group, will look to their seamers to provide a boost and hoped that players who have played in Pallekele before would bring their experience into the game. Jacob Oram was the leading wicket-taker in the Sri Lanka Premier League last month.
"We will be looking to our seamers to have a big play in the tournament. Few of the players played SLPL and had some success there. The boundaries here in Pallekele are a lot bigger than other grounds. Spinners will play a role because in Twenty20 cricket spinners do have a big part to play."
Given the high-scoring nature of the pitch and the help it offers the seamers in the evening, Taylor said he would prefer to bat first, but could change his mind if the pitch remained green.
"The pitch looked green yesterday. But we will have to wait and see what shape it finally takes. Maybe some grass may come off, we don't know because it is currently under cover."
Taylor scored an unbeaten 131 in Pallekele during a 2011 World Cup match against Pakistan but he said that it had no bearing on Friday's game. "It was also my birthday (when I played against Pakistan in the World Cup). My birthday is not any time soon! This is a different tournament where we need to start well."