Cricket: Caps smashed in hit out

Black caps Tim Southee. Photo / Christine Cornege
Black caps Tim Southee. Photo / Christine Cornege

Any Pakistan or Bangladesh scouts at the ground for the New Zealand-Australia Twenty20 World Cup warm-up match would probably have been safe curling up and grabbing forty winks under one of the inviting trees around the boundary at the Nondescripts Cricket Club in Colombo.

Those teams might be New Zealand's pool opponents but they could be forgiven for minimising their stress watching Australia win by 56 runs. Australia posted 139 for six; New Zealand stumbled to 83 all out in 17 overs. The NCC, with its picturesque ground, convivial open air clubrooms and ice cold beverages within, was probably the best thing on display for any New Zealand fans.

It was a practice match ... and judging by the New Zealand performance, there is plenty of that to do. They get a second opportunity to limber up against South Africa tomorrow. New Zealand can rest assured they gave away few secrets to the Australians but the permutations of the draw mean they cannot meet in the tournament until the semifinals anyway.

New Zealand did well in restricting Australia to less than seven runs an over after choosing to field. That was despite David Warner scoring 24 of the first 28 runs before offering a catch off Daniel Vettori. He faced 14 balls. His fellow opener Shane Watson made 27 while Glenn Maxwell (25) and Matthew Wade (24) offered late pep. Adam Milne finished with the best New Zealand figures with two wickets for 27 runs.

Kane Williamson (17), Ross Taylor (22) and Doug Bracewell (10 not out) were the only New Zealanders to reach double figures with the bat. Williamson took 33 balls doing so as he struggled to build a strike rate against tight Australian bowling. At 41, Brad Hogg continues his fine return to the international arena after a break of more than four and a half years. He took three wickets for 23 which included Williamson, Taylor and James Franklin. Shane Watson, Clint McKay and Pat Cummins took two wickets apiece.

- Herald on Sunday

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