Air of confidence in the Black Caps' T20 camp

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 21/03/2014
Martin Guptill
MUNIR UZ ZAMAN / Photosport

Martin Guptill bats during the Black Caps loss to Australia Wednesday.

Black Caps
Getty Images
BLACK CAPS READY: After competitive showing against Australia, team looking forward to Sunday's match against England.

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Everything augurs well for Sunday.

No, New Zealand didn't beat Australia in their final World Twenty20 warm-up match in Bangladesh. But finishing three runs short in their pursuit of Australia's total of 200 was definitely the next best thing.

And when you consider how well Sunday morning's opponents England are doing, it's even better.

Following their seven-wicket thrashing in the first of their warm-up matches, England made 158 for six to lose to India by 20 runs in the last of their practice games before Sunday's critical Group 1 clash with New Zealand at Chittagong.

Those results add an extra air of optimism in the Black Caps' camp, after their competitive showing against Australia.

"We were chasing quite a big total of 200, and to get close is pretty pleasing. But there is also that disappointment factor of not getting across the line when we should have," batsman Martin Guptill said.

His innings of 62 from 34 balls set up New Zealand's chase. He was well aided by captain Brendon McCullum (37 off 18), and it seemed as though Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi would then get New Zealand home.

Instead, both were dismissed by Mitchell Starc in the penultimate over, and the tail couldn't muster the nine runs needed from the final six balls, bowled by Nathan Coulter-Nile.

"To spend a bit of time in the middle and get a few out of the middle of the bat as well was pretty pleasing. It gives you confidence going into the next training sessions and the next match against England," said Guptill.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann reckoned each team ought to be buoyed by the cricket they played at Fatullah.

"It was a good quality game," Lehmann said.

"Both sides will be working on their bowling ... but at the end of the day it was a great hitout for both the teams."

On the back of Tuesday morning's six-wicket defeat to Pakistan, yesterday's loss to Australia means the Black Caps have about as much to show for their warm-up games as England. What differs is the quality of cricket New Zealand have played, plus the fact they have options heading into Sunday morning.

Neither Kyle Mills nor Anton Devcich played against Pakistan. But they produced quality bowling performances of two for 21 and one for 15 respectively against Australia, and it will be interesting to see how the attack's configured for England.

Devcich might have done enough to go past Roneel Hira as the second spinner, beside Nathan McCullum, who didn't play Australia, while Mills could join Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan in the pace attack.

Southee and McClenaghan also sat out the Australia game, having done usefully against Pakistan.

Whoever plays against England, Guptill says they all have to have more energy in the field.

"We weren't quite there in the last couple of games, so we can definitely go one or two steps up from what we have been. That's one thing we can do and losing wickets in clumps, as we have been in the last couple of games, hasn't been ideal as well."

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- Fairfax Media

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