Lockie Ferguson's pace shapes as a welcome asset for New Zealand at the Cricket World Cup.
The sight of his black boots padding towards the bowling crease exudes stealth and menace, like overnight against Bangladesh at The Oval. The roar of the red and green-clad Tigers fans dipped to more of a meow when Ferguson bustled into the attack.
The batsmen had less swagger too, knowing thunderbolts are imminent. They are prepared, but that's no insurance against missiles approaching 150km/h.
Bangladesh were steady at 54-1 after the first 11 overs from Matt Henry and Trent Boult.
Ferguson's feet whispered through his run-up towards Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh's talisman.
Then … whoosh.
His first delivery rocketed through around chest height on a pitch that had looked on the lower, slower end of the spectrum. Oh for a snickometer to read Shakib's heart rate. To his credit, the world's No.1 one-day international all-rounder dropped his gloves and ushered the ball through to wicketkeeper Tom Latham. He defused the situation in his 200th ODI, but the message was clear: Ferguson's determined to be more predator than prey at this tournament.
At Cardiff, the right-armer had a platform laid to steam in at 52 for three in the 12th over against a hapless Sri Lanka. He secured three wickets for 22 runs from 6.2 overs.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Against Bangladesh, Ferguson faced more resistance and calibrated accordingly. Henry finished with the best figures of four for 47 from 9.2 overs, but Ferguson's one for 40 from his allotment restricted their opponents to 244 when it counted.
His first spell figures read 4-0-7-1, which included opener Tamim Iqbal miscuing a pull shot to mid-on. He delivered 91 per cent in the good-to-short-of-a-length zone.
Ferguson's next entry came in the 25th over with 2-0-18-0, a blip in his day. He conceded his first boundary in the fifth over, and three wides in the sixth as he angled short-pitch deliveries unsuccessfully around the wicket at the right-handed Mohammad Mithun. That brought a rest from captain Kane Williamson and a recall in the 40th over with the looming Death. Ferguson responded with figures of 4-0-15-0. Lithe fielding, particularly from Martin Guptill at point, intensified the pressure.
If New Zealand get similar numbers out of him throughout the tournament, Ferguson will become a key campaign cast member.