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April 27, 2010
Daniel Vettori is confident New Zealand can continue to improve after easily accounting for Ireland in their first warm-up match at the ICC World Twenty20. Jesse Ryder (64) starred with the bat and Nathan McCullum with the ball on a Providence Stadium pitch that proved very slow.
Ross Taylor, Shane Bond and Brendon McCullum played no part against Ireland and will be keen for a run in the second practice game, against West Indies on Wednesday. Vettori was pleased with the victory, which also featured a Martin Guptill half-century, but he said the West Indies match would be a better gauge of New Zealand's form.
"We're satisfied with the win and satisfied with some individual performances," Vettori said. "Jesse was outstanding at top and Guptill finished it off pretty well, and Nathan McCullum was outstanding with the ball. On a wicket like that you've got to be inch perfect because it's so slow.
"It's important to improve, we've got Bond and McCullum to come back in and Taylor, they're three pretty crucial players for us. Getting those guys back in the team will be important. West Indies look like a really good team and I think they'd be one of the favourites on their home grounds, so if we can perform against them then we know we're in good shape."
Taylor will be extra keen to find some touch in the shortest format, having failed to pass 20 in his most recent five international innings. Although he is a key Test and one-day player, his Twenty20 record of three half-centuries and an average of 21 for New Zealand leaves room for improvement.
"He's a proven Twenty20 performer," Vettori said. "He probably needs to step up a little on the international form of the game but he knows what he's doing. To have him back in the team will make a huge difference. But McCullum at the top of the order is the real key. If he has a good tournament I think the team will fire."
The two warm-ups in Guyana will be extra useful for New Zealand, as they play both their pool matches against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at the same venue. The slow pace encouraged Vettori to open with the spin of Nathan McCullum, who grabbed three wickets, but he was disappointed with his own results of 0 for 33 from three overs.
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