World T20 news March 14, 2014

New Zealand target early momentum

24

Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, has stressed on the importance of making a good start in the World T20. His side has enjoyed some good form across formats in the lead-up to the tournament and McCullum hopes to take full advantage of it.

New Zealand have relished home conditions and have been unbeaten against West Indies and India over the last three months. And individual performances have been rife as well: McCullum scored his country's first Test triple century against India a month after Corey Anderson broke the world record for fastest ODI century. However, McCullum will be wary of their poor tour of Bangladesh in October and November last year.

"We are quietly confident, but very respectful of the opposition," McCullum said. "We have just got to make sure that we adapt to the conditions really quickly, start the tournament well and try to build some momentum from there.

"That's going to be the key for us. If we do that, then I think we've got the personnel and the match-winners in our team to give it a good shake, but we're going to have to play consistently well throughout the tournament and probably get a little luck along the way too."

They have a lot to improve on their World T20 performances too, having won just nine out of 21 games in the four editions. In 2012, under similar conditions in Sri Lanka, they began by thumping Bangladesh, only to lose their next four games - two in one-over eliminators to the hosts and champions West Indies.

McCullum's priorities were on the 50-over World Cup, to be played in their backyard, and admitted to his team's difficulties while traveling. "I think the 2015 World Cup at home would certainly be a goal for us, but this one here, if we play well at the start then who knows where we can get to. Away from home, we've still got a lot of challenges and we've still got a lot of fences to climb to be a consistent touring team.

"This tournament is anyone's," he added. "I think every team in this competition has a good chance of being there at the business end of it. That's no different for us as well."

McCullum praised the all-round abilities of Anderson and Jimmy Neesham which have added depth to the side. Both players gave a glimpse of their talent in Bangladesh, and later Anderson unleashed himself on West Indies with that whirlwind century on New Year's day.

"Corey, in a very brief time in international cricket so far, has shown just how devastating he can be with bat in hand," McCullum said. "I think he has nailed it for us with the ball as well, in pressure situations He's an incredible talent, a huge part of our side. I think Jimmy Neesham is also a very dangerous player who brings a great skill set to this form of the game. These two guys certainly allow us to balance our team quite nicely as they are match-winners."

He was rather reserved when asked about his spin attack, which comprises the quickish off-breaks of Nathan McCullum, the left-arm spin of Ronnie Hira, with assistance from Kane Williamson and Anton Devcich.

"If he [Devcich] gets a start, he's been a very well-performed spinner for us back home. So we come in with four genuine spin-bowling options and they are going to be key here.

"Obviously it's a predominant skill set required in the subcontinent, especially in Chittagong, so we've got to make sure we give those guys every opportunity, and give them enough runs as well," McCullum said. "If we give them enough runs they'll come into their own and play a vital role for us."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • StevieS on March 19, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    Nikko Chunn you are going to leave our best bowler out? Mills should be one of the first picked. Guptill, McCullum, Devich, Taylor, Williamson, Anderson, Ronchi, Neessham, N McCullum, Southee, Mills.

  • dogandbone on March 18, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    @Nicko....Totally agree...I have been saying for a long time McCullum needs to open with whoever in this 20/20 team, but with Taylor at 3 and then all the fire power following....don't mind Williamson coming in at 4 if we lose quick wickets and need the ship steadied...but Taylor needs to bat through with all the young power hitters going for it....Taylor then (if still around) can blast if necessary over the last two overs or so.

  • on March 18, 2014, 1:10 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut - It is only a tiny disagreement (and we have a meeting of the minds on most topics, so it's a small gripe) but I think Hira is a very good bowler and can bat, arguably, better than Southee. He seems quite unflustered, even arrogant, but that isn't always so bad in sport as long as it occurs internally (lolz). I am very curious, after one warm-up game what your number one team is (and I could be humiliated by a good knock by Williamson in the final warm-up versus Australia) but I think Williamson's quote of the week was telling. When asked if t20 was his favourite form of the game, he replied, "It's in my top three." Haha!! Very good Kane. I love the guy, but slow pitches require you to basically brutalize the ball half the time and give it a dirty heave! Then again, we could bat around him. But I believe this should be the First XI: 1. Guptill 2. B.Mac (c) 3. Taylor 4. Munro 5. Anderson 6. Neesham 7. Ronchi (wk) 8. N.Mac 9. Hira / Kane W. 10. Southee 11. McClenaghan

  • on March 18, 2014, 0:54 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut - For sure! Our chances of winning the World Cup, when we are hosting, and with Ryder likely back in the team by then, are certainly better for winning the 2015 World Cup than the t20 WC (and I consider the former to be far more important)..... But the t20 side is still very good. I have my concerns - and the loss to Pakistan in the warm-up highlighted a few of them. Namely, Taylor's slogging ability being somewhat diluted by sublime ODI and Test form (which is awesome 66% of the time); McClenaghan's ability if the ball hardly swings (which it did not versus Pakistan); Kane Williamson's ability to open when he should really float and BMac should open, BUT this really makes him just a bowler, and versus Pakistan they did not bowl him! Worrying. Corey and Neesham failed last night, but were due to. I was more disappointed in the top order and others to be honest. The two-pacedness of the pitches is horrific, but we must play straight or late and watch that ball.

  • Hishon on March 17, 2014, 3:18 GMT

    We are New Zealand. We will destroy. Any other argument is invalid.

  • kiwicricketnut on March 16, 2014, 5:37 GMT

    @ Gagg and SameOld, you guys sound a bit worried about anderson and neesham but these two have to play they are too good to leave out, while bowling is probably their weakest suit they are no mugs, as long as they mix it up with variations they'll be fine and they both have them, thing is even if they do take a bit of tap, with them in the team i think we can both post and chase big totals, so what they supposably lack with the ball, they make up with the bat but i honestly dont think they lack the skills to be very good international bowlers at all, this world cup will be a good test for both but im confident these two will be two of our best, they took some massive strides foward this summer and are getting better all the time.

  • hokeypokey on March 16, 2014, 0:32 GMT

    I agree with ru4real.,get our best batsmen in early,mccullum/guptil would be a great start if all going well, then taylor to construct an innings with his experience. then if we are in trouble williamson can play his natural game at 4...

  • SameOld on March 15, 2014, 22:26 GMT

    As McCullum says, NZ will need a bit of luck. Strong batting lineup, a bit boom or bust, but that is true of many countries. NZ need a bowler or two to pull something out of the bag if they are to go deep in the tournament. That's the key for them, I think. Devcich over Guptill, for his bowling. I reckon the tough question is: As good as they both are, can NZ justify Anderson AND Neesham in Bangladesh conditions?

  • Kiwi-Jake on March 15, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    Anyone who's seen a fair bit of Williamson over the past season should know he's picked up his power game. He's now capable of scoring at strike rates around 140-150. And when you've got the likes of McCullum, Taylor, Anderson, Ronchi, Munro, Guptill and Neesham, is another massive 6 hitter really what is required? Guptill should open with either Devcich, McCullum or Ronchi. Devcich would be the likely choice unless the selectors want to somehow fit Munro or Williamson into the lineup. I'm not going to miss Ryder, he's been taking the mickey out of the players, coaching staff and the fans for far too long. No room for a guy who acts like he's 30 going on 13. No amount of natural talent compensates for the continued disregard he shows in all aspects of playing cricket for NZ.

  • StevieS on March 15, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    Kiwicricketnut Williamson should of been in the squad anyway not just for his batting but offspin, seemed crazy leaving him out when playing on slow spinning decks. Ryder would also have been handy with the ball, we don't have enough slow bowlers, Neesham and Andersons medium fast bowling won't cut it.

  • StevieS on March 19, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    Nikko Chunn you are going to leave our best bowler out? Mills should be one of the first picked. Guptill, McCullum, Devich, Taylor, Williamson, Anderson, Ronchi, Neessham, N McCullum, Southee, Mills.

  • dogandbone on March 18, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    @Nicko....Totally agree...I have been saying for a long time McCullum needs to open with whoever in this 20/20 team, but with Taylor at 3 and then all the fire power following....don't mind Williamson coming in at 4 if we lose quick wickets and need the ship steadied...but Taylor needs to bat through with all the young power hitters going for it....Taylor then (if still around) can blast if necessary over the last two overs or so.

  • on March 18, 2014, 1:10 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut - It is only a tiny disagreement (and we have a meeting of the minds on most topics, so it's a small gripe) but I think Hira is a very good bowler and can bat, arguably, better than Southee. He seems quite unflustered, even arrogant, but that isn't always so bad in sport as long as it occurs internally (lolz). I am very curious, after one warm-up game what your number one team is (and I could be humiliated by a good knock by Williamson in the final warm-up versus Australia) but I think Williamson's quote of the week was telling. When asked if t20 was his favourite form of the game, he replied, "It's in my top three." Haha!! Very good Kane. I love the guy, but slow pitches require you to basically brutalize the ball half the time and give it a dirty heave! Then again, we could bat around him. But I believe this should be the First XI: 1. Guptill 2. B.Mac (c) 3. Taylor 4. Munro 5. Anderson 6. Neesham 7. Ronchi (wk) 8. N.Mac 9. Hira / Kane W. 10. Southee 11. McClenaghan

  • on March 18, 2014, 0:54 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut - For sure! Our chances of winning the World Cup, when we are hosting, and with Ryder likely back in the team by then, are certainly better for winning the 2015 World Cup than the t20 WC (and I consider the former to be far more important)..... But the t20 side is still very good. I have my concerns - and the loss to Pakistan in the warm-up highlighted a few of them. Namely, Taylor's slogging ability being somewhat diluted by sublime ODI and Test form (which is awesome 66% of the time); McClenaghan's ability if the ball hardly swings (which it did not versus Pakistan); Kane Williamson's ability to open when he should really float and BMac should open, BUT this really makes him just a bowler, and versus Pakistan they did not bowl him! Worrying. Corey and Neesham failed last night, but were due to. I was more disappointed in the top order and others to be honest. The two-pacedness of the pitches is horrific, but we must play straight or late and watch that ball.

  • Hishon on March 17, 2014, 3:18 GMT

    We are New Zealand. We will destroy. Any other argument is invalid.

  • kiwicricketnut on March 16, 2014, 5:37 GMT

    @ Gagg and SameOld, you guys sound a bit worried about anderson and neesham but these two have to play they are too good to leave out, while bowling is probably their weakest suit they are no mugs, as long as they mix it up with variations they'll be fine and they both have them, thing is even if they do take a bit of tap, with them in the team i think we can both post and chase big totals, so what they supposably lack with the ball, they make up with the bat but i honestly dont think they lack the skills to be very good international bowlers at all, this world cup will be a good test for both but im confident these two will be two of our best, they took some massive strides foward this summer and are getting better all the time.

  • hokeypokey on March 16, 2014, 0:32 GMT

    I agree with ru4real.,get our best batsmen in early,mccullum/guptil would be a great start if all going well, then taylor to construct an innings with his experience. then if we are in trouble williamson can play his natural game at 4...

  • SameOld on March 15, 2014, 22:26 GMT

    As McCullum says, NZ will need a bit of luck. Strong batting lineup, a bit boom or bust, but that is true of many countries. NZ need a bowler or two to pull something out of the bag if they are to go deep in the tournament. That's the key for them, I think. Devcich over Guptill, for his bowling. I reckon the tough question is: As good as they both are, can NZ justify Anderson AND Neesham in Bangladesh conditions?

  • Kiwi-Jake on March 15, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    Anyone who's seen a fair bit of Williamson over the past season should know he's picked up his power game. He's now capable of scoring at strike rates around 140-150. And when you've got the likes of McCullum, Taylor, Anderson, Ronchi, Munro, Guptill and Neesham, is another massive 6 hitter really what is required? Guptill should open with either Devcich, McCullum or Ronchi. Devcich would be the likely choice unless the selectors want to somehow fit Munro or Williamson into the lineup. I'm not going to miss Ryder, he's been taking the mickey out of the players, coaching staff and the fans for far too long. No room for a guy who acts like he's 30 going on 13. No amount of natural talent compensates for the continued disregard he shows in all aspects of playing cricket for NZ.

  • StevieS on March 15, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    Kiwicricketnut Williamson should of been in the squad anyway not just for his batting but offspin, seemed crazy leaving him out when playing on slow spinning decks. Ryder would also have been handy with the ball, we don't have enough slow bowlers, Neesham and Andersons medium fast bowling won't cut it.

  • kiwicricketnut on March 15, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    i think people under estimate williamson, sure he wont clear the rope like ryder but there wont be many dot balls with williamson on strike either, he's so good at hitting gaps and rotating the strike, im not a stat freak but im pretty sure he has a very good t-20 strike rate which is the most important thing, classy batsmen like williamson find ways to score where as when sloggers get bogged down they just hit out and generally get out, having him open with guptill is smart when you consider guptills weakness is spin, having a guy so accomplished at playing spin at the other end might stop teams opening with a spinner alloying guptill to get off to a flyer to me its a smart move having williamson open. would love ryder there but he's not and you couldn't get a better replacement, like snowbadger15 says the selectors missed a trick with sohdi, 10 times the player hira is but i could go on all day about who's not there, gotta get behind the team that is

  • Snowbadger15 on March 15, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    the turning pitches will be our undoing and a lot depends on Guptill at the top to give our innings early impetus as Williamson (probably will play ahead of devchich) won't clear the rope as often as Guptill. I would still like Williamson there as he should be use in a stability role so Guptill and McCullum can attack without fear of losing wicket and doing too much damage to our innings. Would have liked Sodhi there ahead of Hira as Sodhi is the better bat as well as being the more attacking spinner. Ryder has been disappointing but we ill probably have to wait until the end of the year before he returns to the side. My IDEAL 11 Guptill, Ryder, McCullum, Taylor, Anderson ,Neesham ,Ronchi, McCullum, Sodhi, Southee, Milne, Mills. I have to agree with kiwicricketnut on Mcclenaghan as he was ineffective and expensive on the Bangladesh and Sri Lankan tours last year

  • dogandbone on March 15, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    Having the personal is all well and good...its how you use them is the key....It came as a surprise to hear that Williamson will be used at the top of the order. My pick would be for him to bat at 4 and be a floating batsman at that. McCullum should open along with Guptill....Taylor at 3 and then you can float Williamson...if early wickets fall and a steady of the ship job needs doing, then fine bat Williamson...if we are ahead of the game then in comes the fire power of Anderson, Nessham, Ronchi and Williamson moves down the order. Opening with him confuses me. McCullum needs to face as many balls as possible and so does Taylor....Taylor can be used to bat through the innings if necessary and attack at the end with all of the above used as pinch hitters.

  • kiwicricketnut on March 15, 2014, 2:37 GMT

    i actually think we have a better chance of winning the odi world cup than this t-20 world cup, bangladesh just has such foreign conditions to us and we don't seem to cope with it, while i think australia should be the favourites, i think a sub-continent team will win it, at a guess probably srilanka, we are a team high on confidence though so who knows, the talent is definately there to do it. my xi would be 1.guptill 2.williamson 3.mccullum 4.taylor 5.anderson 6.neesham 7.ronchi 8.munro 9.n.mccullum 10.southee 11.mills, i know mcclenaghan was t-20 player of the year but he struggled in this part of the world where as mills is pretty good anywhere so i'd pick mills instead and there is not much point on their pitches going in with 3 genuine seamers not when we have two quality allrounders, there is a case for devcich for munro but i actually rate guptills part time spin if we needed it, just lacking variation with 3 off spinners but thats the best line up for me

  • Antony_Lucas on March 15, 2014, 2:26 GMT

    It would be a selection blunder to open with Guptill. When has he scored runs in the subcontinent in the short formats? Williamson and Devcich would be a golden combo given both can contribute with the ball. Devcich is an underrated bowler who proved his abiliies to restrict the batsmen on NZs most recent tour to BD

  • on March 15, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    Yeah, enormous shame about Ryder but ... how many chances do you give a guy? There's players fighting to get into that side, seems Ryder just isn't one of them.

  • gcblackcapsfan on March 14, 2014, 22:40 GMT

    On current form should be able to beat England 1st up and hopefully next match against South Africa. Australia will have a strong team and good preparation after recent series against south Africa.

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 14, 2014, 22:31 GMT

    NZ can be mercurial but on the slow, low Asian pitches, I am not so sure about their capability. However, according to me, the only two non-Asian teams who can surprise a few are the WI and NZ teams. So good luck to Black Caps.

  • StevieS on March 14, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    kiwiwarrior actually the ideal would have Ryder in the team but as we know thats not going to happen.

  • KBCA on March 14, 2014, 19:07 GMT

    Much weaker without Ryder in the team. Petty stuborn management robbing NZ of one of its 2 true batting gifts at the time they need it most

  • Al.Turner on March 14, 2014, 17:34 GMT

    New Zealand's momentum cannot be stopped too easily....behind us is the golden NZ summer, the fact that we have current experience in Bangladesh local conditions last 12 months and the determination to smother the memories of the tour there......difference is we know how to win and we never give up in a tough situation....NZ are street fighters....we are breaking out from being pinned in the corner.....momentum .....thanks NZ boys for the entertainment so far...priceless

  • AKS286 on March 14, 2014, 14:55 GMT

    No Doubt my votes goes to NZ for T20 Cup. The best side and well deserve too. I want Fulton in T20 side and Tim Southee the best depth bowler in the world a true class he has. Fulton, Guptill, Kane, Taylor, Ryder, McCullum, Anderson, N.mcMulum, Southee, Boult, Bracewell.

  • Lakpj on March 14, 2014, 14:26 GMT

    They have a good T20 outfit similarly to Wi. but the problem is the conditions and pitches may not suit them. furthermore Bangladesh is a place where NZ have not done all that well.

  • kiwiwarrior on March 14, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    Ideal NZ eleven

    Devcich, Guptill, B Mccullum, Taylor, Williamson, Anderson, Neesham, Ronchi, N McCullum, Southee/Mills, Hira.

    Anderson, Neesham and Southee or Mills to be the seamers supported by Hira, N McCullum and Devcich with spin. This team also bats very deep and could be a deadly formula.

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  • kiwiwarrior on March 14, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    Ideal NZ eleven

    Devcich, Guptill, B Mccullum, Taylor, Williamson, Anderson, Neesham, Ronchi, N McCullum, Southee/Mills, Hira.

    Anderson, Neesham and Southee or Mills to be the seamers supported by Hira, N McCullum and Devcich with spin. This team also bats very deep and could be a deadly formula.

  • Lakpj on March 14, 2014, 14:26 GMT

    They have a good T20 outfit similarly to Wi. but the problem is the conditions and pitches may not suit them. furthermore Bangladesh is a place where NZ have not done all that well.

  • AKS286 on March 14, 2014, 14:55 GMT

    No Doubt my votes goes to NZ for T20 Cup. The best side and well deserve too. I want Fulton in T20 side and Tim Southee the best depth bowler in the world a true class he has. Fulton, Guptill, Kane, Taylor, Ryder, McCullum, Anderson, N.mcMulum, Southee, Boult, Bracewell.

  • Al.Turner on March 14, 2014, 17:34 GMT

    New Zealand's momentum cannot be stopped too easily....behind us is the golden NZ summer, the fact that we have current experience in Bangladesh local conditions last 12 months and the determination to smother the memories of the tour there......difference is we know how to win and we never give up in a tough situation....NZ are street fighters....we are breaking out from being pinned in the corner.....momentum .....thanks NZ boys for the entertainment so far...priceless

  • KBCA on March 14, 2014, 19:07 GMT

    Much weaker without Ryder in the team. Petty stuborn management robbing NZ of one of its 2 true batting gifts at the time they need it most

  • StevieS on March 14, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    kiwiwarrior actually the ideal would have Ryder in the team but as we know thats not going to happen.

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 14, 2014, 22:31 GMT

    NZ can be mercurial but on the slow, low Asian pitches, I am not so sure about their capability. However, according to me, the only two non-Asian teams who can surprise a few are the WI and NZ teams. So good luck to Black Caps.

  • gcblackcapsfan on March 14, 2014, 22:40 GMT

    On current form should be able to beat England 1st up and hopefully next match against South Africa. Australia will have a strong team and good preparation after recent series against south Africa.

  • on March 15, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    Yeah, enormous shame about Ryder but ... how many chances do you give a guy? There's players fighting to get into that side, seems Ryder just isn't one of them.

  • Antony_Lucas on March 15, 2014, 2:26 GMT

    It would be a selection blunder to open with Guptill. When has he scored runs in the subcontinent in the short formats? Williamson and Devcich would be a golden combo given both can contribute with the ball. Devcich is an underrated bowler who proved his abiliies to restrict the batsmen on NZs most recent tour to BD