Cricket: Taylor keeps faith despite big loss

Suresh Raina of India congratulates Virat Kohli on catching Ross Taylor, off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh. Photo / Getty Images
Suresh Raina of India congratulates Virat Kohli on catching Ross Taylor, off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh. Photo / Getty Images

Stand-in New Zealand cricket captain Ross Taylor has refused to let the team's 117-run defeat in a warm-up match against India overnight dent his belief that the Black Caps can win the World Cup.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni crushed the New Zealand attack to crack three sixes and 11 fours in a 64-ball 108 not out to help his team post an imposing 360-5 at Chennai.

The Black Caps, after starting brightly, were bowled out for 243 with the four Indian spinners used sharing seven wickets.

Despite the heavy defeat Taylor, who filled in as captain while Daniel Vettori rested a tight hamstring, said his team was capable of progressing deep into the tournament.

"We need to bat and bowl and field well and at the moment we're not doing all the facets as well as we would like, but I still have confidence in the team that we can get the performances that we want," Taylor told reporters.

He felt the Black Caps conceded 40 or 50 too many runs as Dhoni and Suresh Raina (50) unleashed a vicious late attack on his bowlers. The final 16 overs realised 193 runs with Jacob Oram copping some severe treatment with his figures blowing out from two for 30 after seven overs to two for 70 two overs later.

All the bowlers suffered, with Kyle Mills going for 81 from 10 overs, while spinners Nathan McCullum and Luke Woodcock went at more than six an over and failed to take a wicket.

Earlier, Tim Southee had silenced the boisterous crowd by bowling Sachin Tendulkar for 17 while Oram got through Virender Sehwag with his first ball.

Guatam Gambhir (89) added 106 with Virat Kohli before Oram struck again to remove the stylish Kohli for 59, but that only brought Dhoni to the wicket who made the most of the solid start.

Taylor was buoyed by the opening stand of 94 between Brendon McCullum (58) and Martin Guptill (38).

"Brendon and Martin went out there and played their natural games. We need more of that to get ourselves off to good starts whether we're batting first or second in the competition. If we can do that more often than not I think we can get some big totals."

But New Zealand's fallibility against spin was ruthlessly exposed once the opening bowlers were replaced.

Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and part-time spinner Yuvraj Singh each took two wickets, while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged one.

Taylor, who fell to Harbhajan, repeated his prediction that spinners will play a crucial role in the tournament.

"The spinners are going to be key. When chasing seven or eight an over it is always tough when ball turning square, but in saying that we need to find a way of scoring runs and scoring those runs quickly."

New Zealand start their World Cup campaign at the same venue against Kenya on Sunday.

- NZPA

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