Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Cricket: NZ chasing win before World Cup opener

Nathan McCullum says the Black Caps ready to get their house in order ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup. Photo / Getty Images
Nathan McCullum says the Black Caps ready to get their house in order ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup. Photo / Getty Images

Having been soundly beaten in their first warm-up match against Australia at the weekend, New Zealand will search for some momentum against South Africa this afternoon in their final hit-out before the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka.

The Aussies made light work of the Black Caps in coasting to a 56-run victory on Saturday but allrounder Nathan McCullum said despite the lopsided result New Zealand were ready to get their house in order ahead of the global tournament that starts this week.

"Its always good to get in two warm-up games and try and test yourself and get some tactics and other things sorted out," McCullum said.

"Obviously things didn't go our way totally [against Australia] but we got some good things out of it, we got some bad things out of it. But at least we are learning lessons and we are moving forward and obviously the warm-up games that we've got are against different opposition than we are going to face in the first two games. So it's about us just getting used to the conditions really and seeing how we go and taking our time to get in to the swing of it before we hit the ground running in a few days time."

You can never read heavily in to results of warm-up games, but New Zealand would love to put in a decent performance in Colombo today before they open the Twenty20 World Cup proper against Bangladesh in Pallekele on Friday.

"You want to win the warm-up games but also you want to try and play to the specifics of how you're going to play in the first two pool games," McCullum said.

"So it's a catch 22, you're doing bits and pieces for both but still trying to win at the same time and learn lessons."

After they play Bangladesh, New Zealand meet Pakistan in their next Pool D outing on Sunday.

New Black Caps coach Mike Hesson will most likely want to see an improved batting effort this afternoon after New Zealand were shot out for 83 by Australia. Only three batsmen made double figures.

New Zealand's bowling was solid as they held the Baggy Greens to 139-6 from 20 overs, a not insurmountable total in international Twenty20.

Today's match starts at 4pm NZT.

Both sides can use different line-ups for their batting and bowling innings from within their 15-strong squad in warm-up games.

- APNZ

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