Nathan Astle: Black Caps send message to top teams

The Black Caps thrashing of Pakistan last night will make other teams in the World Cup stand up a take notice. This side are a serious threat.

The second straight complete performance by the Black Caps will be enough to give them the confidence to go far in this tournament. And it all stemmed from a playing struggling with confidence, taking his time in the middle before finding his form and turning the game on its head.

Time in the middle and a big score is what Ross Taylor needed and obviously what the team needed as well. Going back to what I mentioned last week if someone does get a hundred the team score is usually pretty good and with Martin Guptill getting a 50 as well, 300 was always going to be a solid total. That's what they've got to stick to and go from there.

Again it was a total team effort. Of late it's been a little bit sporadic, one game they go well followed by a shocker, but it's great to see all three facets of the game have come together nicely.

It's a good point in the tournament to get momentum going now as they're heading into the business end of the competition.

Any sportsperson will tell you as soon as you get your confidence back, form seems to change and things just seem to go your way - Taylor with his couple of close misses early on proved that.

They went his way and that sort of stuff breeds success.

With Canada coming up on Sunday there may be a temptation to rest players and give the likes of Jamie How a chance to find form against a weaker side. However I think they need to keep playing their strongest side and keep momentum going.

How has had his chance and he has struggled. It's time they brought in someone else like Kane Williamson to have a go because at the moment How isn't offering the team anything with the bat. The person that comes in deserves a chance because How has had a couple of goes. But that's the only change I'd be thinking of at this time.

With Jacob Oram replacing Hamish Bennett it meant the side batted all the way down to Tim Southee at number 11 which is a rarity in cricket and something they could benefit from later in the tournament. Oram's bowling is also more suited to the sort of wickets they've been playing on and is a little bit more effective than Bennett.

Usually the slower and the more change of pace you can have over there, you force batsmen to create their own pace off the ball. That's a little bit harder to face compared to a paceman like Bennett where the ball comes onto the bat a little bit easier.

I think that lineup they had last night, with the exception of Jamie How, is a starting side that I'd be looking at to try and carry them through the rest of the World Cup.

Of course there could be one enforced change with Daniel Vettori in doubt for the rest of the World Cup. Obviously losing the captain would be massive blow but as the side showed last night, losing Vettori wasn't a huge factor in that game.

They've just got to take something out of that game and the confidence they can step up without him, but also keep their fingers crossed that he returns.

Depth might be crucial in this World Cup with the injury tolls mounting for a few teams. That is the strength of some other countries and we don't quite have that depth as yet, it's something we are always striving towards. You're at a World Cup and you've just got to move on and play with the guys that are there.

- NZHERALD ONLINE

- NZ Herald

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