Black Caps have everything to play for in T20

01:05, Mar 22 2014
corey anderson
BRIGHT HOPE: New Zealand's hopes against England will soar if Corey Anderson performs with bat and ball tomorrow morning.

Chittagong would be a long way to go to lose to England.

Fellow World Twenty20 tournament Group 1 teams South Africa and Sri Lanka are a different matter but New Zealand simply must beat England in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Lose and there won't be much point in hanging round for the rest of their group games.

The Black Caps know all that. Aside from being a side that's shown resilience and a ruthless streak in recent months, this is a pretty self-aware team. No-one kids themselves, these aren't dreamers with their heads in the clouds.

Instead, under the astute and sometimes inspirational leadership of Brendon McCullum, this is a team of realists who realise their public want them to talk sense and play with intent.

So here's your stage, boys.


"This has been a good prep," Black Caps allrounder Corey Anderson said. "We've been in Dubai for a little bit and then obviously had Pakistan and Australia in warm-up matches here, so it's been a good warm-up phase and everyone's just really excited to start the world cup."

England come here knowing everyone regards their cricket now as an utter shambles. South Africa are burdened by the fact they never front in world events, and Sri Lanka will be desperate to win for Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and to break their unenviable habit of making finals but never winning them.

Of the four big teams in Group 1, New Zealand have the least to prove and most to gain. Their big test will come on home soil, when they co-host next year's 50-over world cup.

"You've just got to learn to learn to deal with the pressure and playing big tournaments, so it's perfect to come over here and play the Twenty20 World Cup and then the big one next year as well," said Anderson.

"It's just exciting times. That's all you feel – excitement - and you want your team to do well

"Over here the sub-continent sides are obviously favourites to take it out. Twenty is such as small format, there's so many things that can happen in that short amount of time and if someone has a good day they can win a game for their team.

"We want to take out both [the Twenty20 and 50-over] tournaments obviously. That's what we're here for and that's what we've come to do."

Tickling England up is the only way to make that a reality at the first of those events.

Twenty20 cricket is synonymous with big hitting and massive overs, but the Bangladeshi conditions won't be conducive to that too often. New Zealand will need to field better than England here, which shouldn't be too difficult, and not get all macho about how they bat and bowl.

If they play smart, they'll be too good.

Fairfax Media