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January 11, 2014
New Zealand's 81-run win in the first T20 in Auckland, according to their captain Brendon McCullum, was the best response to their defeat in the final ODI in Hamilton, which he said had left them hurting.
"We were hurting after that," McCullum said. "[It's] well documented that it was a missed opportunity and a poor performance from us, and West Indies, obviously, when they had their backs against the wall, they delivered their best performance of the tour. So we knew that this game is very important for us to try and wrest back some momentum in the series, and I thought the way we played today is pretty close to how we want to play as a short-version team."
With New Zealand playing just one more T20 before the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, McCullum said the second match of the series would be important in terms of helping them find their best combination.
"I think we talked before this series about how few opportunities we've got leading into that T20 World Cup and how we've got to ensure we've got our combinations and our plans right, and I think it was a pretty good blueprint today of how we want to play," he said.
"Yes, we need to ensure we're ready to go to that T20 World Cup but we've also got an opportunity to close out the series and we missed one the other day [the Hamilton ODI], and if we're serious about trying to win big tournaments then you've got to be closing out those sorts of games that Wellington presents so a big challenge for us, and I look forward to see how we respond."
Another positive to emerge for New Zealand was the pace Adam Milne bowled at, clocking speeds of 150kph and upwards on occasion.
"I think at one stage it was 153 [kph], I saw it on the radar, and I'm pretty sure the crowd enjoyed it as well, and I think Ronc [Luke Ronchi] was standing quite a way back there, so I was really pleased for Adam today too," McCullum said. "I think he's bowled reasonably well for us without much luck, and I think when you bowl as quick as what he does, at times you're going to travel. But tonight we probably saw him have his best performance for us in the black shirt, so I'm really pleased for him and hopefully he'll gain a lot of confidence out of that."
Ronchi, the wicketkeeper, said Milne's performance boded well for his future.
"On a wicket that wasn't very quick, he had some good pace going, so that was the biggest thing," he said. "You can tell more of a difference on those slow wickets, and he was hitting the gloves well. I was standing a good distance back. He's got a good future for New Zealand cricket if he keeps going with that sort of pace. He's 21; he's going to be really good for us."
Ronchi had had a poor run in the ODI series, scoring just 34 runs in four innings. Coming in at 104 for 5 with 7.1 overs to go, he scored an unbeaten 25-ball 48 to help New Zealand set West Indies a target of 190. Ronchi said he felt good to repay the selectors' faith in him.
"Yeah, it was really good, actually," he said. "I've been feeling good through this whole series, just not putting it on the board, I guess, and last innings I felt I was going well till I stepped on the stumps. But today it was really nice to contribute, but it was the same thing, I still had a little bit of time to get myself in and kick into gear. It was nice to repay the faith they've shown me so far, so it was really good."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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