For ICC Cricket World Cup operations manager Anthony Crummy, events like the blue ribbon of international cricket were occasions where the unexpected could happen and the old saying "beware the underdog" was very much the case.

Teams like Afghanistan, who take on the Black Caps at McLean Park next month, and the United Arab Emirates, who also have appointments here with Pakistan and the West Indies, could not be underestimated, he said.

"You just have to look at the past ones - every World Cup has a giant killer in there somewhere and someone gets a big fright."

Afghanistan, he said, were a "very good side" and no one they faced would take them lightly.

Advertisement

Mr Crummy said, at this stage, the Napier match was the only pool match being played by the Black Caps which had not sold out, but added tickets sales were strong.

"We expect it to be a sell-out."

He also expected strong sales for the other pool matches featuring visiting sides, and likened them to several of the clashes during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, where games between teams like Georgia and Romania sold out.

"It is a world event and people want to get involved," he said.

Around the one-day matches there would be "lots" of entertainment, activities for youngsters and general all around colour.

"It is not just about supporting the home team, it is about getting behind the matches and the teams - it is the third largest sporting event in the world."

For Napier, and Hawke's Bay, the spin-off would be global recognition.

"There will be a huge international viewing audience watching the games and a full park in Napier would be a great image to show the world." It was McLean Park's reputation for providing world-class wickets, as well as strong crowd support, which had seen it get three of the pool games in the tournament shared between New Zealand and Australia, Mr Crummy said. "It really is a great cricketing venue."

Advertisement

Mr Crummy was previously heavily involved in the operations side of staging the Rugby World Cup and said, in terms of the number of matches and the duration of the event, the cricketing version was similar.

The only main difference was that the event was a transtasman one, which meant teams had more extensive travel between games.

"The logistics of that adds a bit of a twist to it."

For Afghanistan it meant playing against Australia in Perth on March 4 then taking the long-haul flight to Napier to play the Black Caps on March 8.