Cricket: Rookie pair make their mark in tour opener

By David Leggat

Colin Munro made a good first impression, scoring 39 off 27 balls in New Zealand's 140 for eight. Photo / Getty Images
Colin Munro made a good first impression, scoring 39 off 27 balls in New Zealand's 140 for eight. Photo / Getty Images

Nothing beats clearing the throat at the first time of asking; just ask Colin Munro and Mitchell McClenaghan.

The Auckland pair of international tyros were the eye-catching turns for New Zealand in their 24-run win in their warm-up tour opener over a South Africa A team in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Far bigger challenges are looming, but lively left-armer McClenaghan, who took three wickets in his first 14 deliveries, hopes a message has been delivered to the senior players on tour.

"It sends a really good message to the group," he said. "It helps the senior guys and gives them a bit more faith in us."

Munro, who has been in rousing form with the bat for Auckland, top scored with 39 off 27 balls in New Zealand's 140 for eight. McClenaghan, late call-up Michael Bates and a third left-armer, spinner Ronnie Hira, then shared seven wickets.

The first of three T20 internationals is in Durban early on Saturday. Pitch conditions are expected to be quicker there than what Munro called a strip which was "a bit tennis bally" yesterday.

McClenaghan said he'd not been clocked by a speed gun yet. If selected for Durban he hopes not to be caught short by the technology.

"You don't want to get your hopes up. You don't want to see it come up at 135 [km/h]. That would be a bit embarrassing," he laughed. "You can't get carried away but it will be good to see what it is relative to the big boys like [South African pace stars] Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel."

Senior allrounder James Franklin likes what he's seen of the younger players. "They've got no baggage so they just want to get stuck in and see where they fit in in terms of the team and international cricket."

Opener Martin Guptill is sure to return for the Durban match and at least one of Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell to bolster the experience of the bowling group.

South Africa, already without Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and hard-hitting allrounder Wayne Parnell, will be led by batsman Faf du Plessis.

- NZ Herald

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