Cricket: Black Caps shift focus to T20 World Cup

The New Zealand cricket side have finally got that winning feeling again. Now they have to keep it if they want to progress to the second stage of the Twenty20 World Cup which begins in Sri Lanka next week.

New Zealand claimed a T20 series victory over India this morning after winning the dramatic second match by just one run.

With the first match washed out, their tour of India ended on a high note after a 2-0 defeat in the test series.

James Franklin played the starring role in today's win with a fine final over as the Black Caps bowlers defended 167 to head into next week's World Cup with a win under their belts.

India needed six runs from the final three balls but Yuvraj Singh was undone by a slower delivery from Franklin and India fell one run short of New Zealand's target, which was set up by a rollicking 91 off 55 balls from Brendon McCullum.

"We're under no illusions come arriving in Sri Lanka tomorrow we've got to fully switch to our next agenda which is a warm-up game against Australia on Saturday,'' Franklin said.

They complete their preparations with a second warm-up game against South Africa before their opening group match against Bangladesh in Pallekele on September 22.

They play Pakistan in their final group D match two days later and must finish in the top two of their group to progress to the super eight stage.

"It's a tough group,'' Franklin said. "Both games that we'll be playing are going to be tough games _ obviously sub-continent conditions, sub-continent teams. It's going to be tricky for us but we can't let that worry us. We've got to go in with good game plans, good strategies for individuals and back ourselves to come out winners.''

Today's win is a timely confidence boost for a side that has struggled to notch victories in all three forms of the game this season following a dreadful tour of the West Indies.
They are also heading into a tournament where they don't have a fantastic record, reaching the semifinals just once at the inaugural tournament in 2007 before losing to Pakistan.

"It's always nice winning games of cricket,'' Franklin said. "It's been a long few weeks for us. Obviously losing the test series 2-0 and having a bit of rain in Visak (Visakhapatnam) didn't help matters but it's always nice to win tight games like that and head to Sri Lanka with a win under our belt.

"It was a topsy-turvy game. With six-seven overs to go, it was India's game. They were steamrolling towards a win. But as we all know the nature of Twenty20 is that anything can change very quickly in a matter of one or two overs and that certainly happened tonight and we were able to close out the game.''

- nzherald.co.nz

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