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Sri Lanka v New Zealand, World Cup 2011, semi-final, Colombo

Wright says he likes New Zealand aggression

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 28, 2011

Comments: 37 | Text size: A | A

John Wright will be relieved after his first game as New Zealand coach, New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st Twenty20, Auckland, December 26, 2010
John Wright admits that batting well will be key against Sri Lanka © Getty Images
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John Wright, the New Zealand coach, has backed his side's aggressive approach during their quarter-final win against South Africa in Mirpur. An on-field spat saw New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills, along with South Africa's Francois du Plessis, fined by the match referee for breaching the ICC's code of conduct.

"I like the aggression of the team, particularly in the field," Wright said ahead of the semi-final against Sri Lanka in Colombo. "That's important. We've got to play with passion and they're showing that. The odd thing happens. But that's international sport."

Defending a modest 221, New Zealand put South Africa under tremendous pressure in Mirpur, by producing one of the best fielding displays of the tournament. The aggression boiled over in the 28th over of South Africa's chase, when there was an altercation between du Plessis and some of the New Zealand players following AB de Villiers' crucial run-out. Mills, who was not in the playing XI for New Zealand, along with Vettori and some other team-mates, became embroiled in a heated exchange with du Plessis and de Villiers, who had remained on the field to offer support to his team-mate.

Wright, however, made light of the incident. "It made reasonably interesting viewing for those out there," he said. "It happened and it was dealt with. The players on both sides knew there was a lot at stake, which is what you expect of any South Africa-New Zealand contest.

"I think the boys were committed, they wanted to win and made their presence felt. We're all pretty pleased right now. We did a lot of preparation for that game and achieved plenty of game-plan targets."

While praising the purposeful fielding and bowling efforts, Wright admitted that the batting had to lift ahead of the semi-final. "We were probably 20 runs short [against South Africa], but knew if we got 220-plus it was defendable," Wright said. "We are making up for it in the field and with the ball. We have to bat well [against Sri Lanka], that is the key for us."


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Posted by charles on (March 29, 2011, 11:03 GMT)

nothing wrong with nz's performance. the game needs a level of agression to be a good contest & spectacle. thats the way nz play. many players play a better game when they are emotionally charged. cant tell players not to show emotion.

Posted by Bruce on (March 29, 2011, 9:22 GMT)

I,m extremely disappointed at Vettori for not handling the on field situation better against SA. I've always thought of him as one of the true gentleman's of the game, but he showed his true colors then. Sri Lanka will make them pay for it, though. I will not be sorry to see the back of the New Zealanders after the Semi!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 8:43 GMT)

This incident was dealt with on the field and that is that. In the heat of the battle things can boil over. New Zealand and South Africa have an intense rivalry on the sporting field. They are a similar breed in many aspects of their sporting abilities and aggression is a mere output of the effort being put in. I can imagine tomorrow's match between India and Pakistan will be a very intense affair also.

Posted by Ken on (March 29, 2011, 8:26 GMT)

for too long new zealand has been seen as the nice guys.. people like chris cairns and dion nash were seen as being arrogant. i think its about time the black caps got agro its not like anyone got hurt it was just a bit of push and shove! good on them.. i also think alan donald has made especially tim southee believe which was a big problem of his

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 7:49 GMT)

Someday cricket is gonna be like those baseball matches.everyone getting into the ground for a fight. its not just gonna be substitute players, but also managers, coach, support staff and finally the audience who'll enter the ground to sort things out. i dont mind a few fights but it should never extend to people outside the ground.

Posted by RAVI on (March 29, 2011, 7:21 GMT)

This playing XI would be able to defeat Srilanka Comfortably DL Vettori*, JEC Franklin, MJ Guptill, BB McCullum, NL McCullum,AJ McKay, JDP Oram, JD Ryder, TG Southee, SB Styris, LRPL Taylor,

Posted by Ben on (March 29, 2011, 7:02 GMT)

abherath: I hope your words don't come back to you

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 6:34 GMT)

New Zealand need to show aggression, they are always under dogs and other teams write them off, so why not get a bit emotional and show that they are up to the challenge and that they arent just there to get beaten. I do believe Mills shouldnt have had anything to do with it because he wasnt part of it at all. New Zealand get the spirit of cricket award most years, so this shows that they arent just thugs. Its not like NZ are the only team that get a bit emotional, Australia, WI, India, all these teams are no different

Posted by Premkumar on (March 29, 2011, 6:23 GMT)

"this is what you expect in any south africa-new zealand contest... ??" what is he talking about ???

Posted by Manish on (March 29, 2011, 6:22 GMT)

Wright is doing all the right things.... he taught aggression To Indian Team and now its Kiwi's turn. Onfield aggression is needed in such tense matches for focussing energy. I wish Kiwi's fight with Indians in final.

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