New Zealand Wary Scottish Surprise As They Eye Semi Final Spot
Scotland have the potential to spring an odd surprise and the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand would be wary of that when they clash in an ICC T20 World Cup 'Super 12' game here later on Wednesday.
Though Scotland's 'Super 12' campaign has faltered after the newcomers defeated Bangladesh in the Qualifiers, and they are currently languishing at the bottom of the table in Group 2, New Zealand opener Daryl Mitchell said the fact that a lot of their cricketers play county cricket has given them an "understanding of the nuances of T20 cricket".
"Obviously, they (Scotland) have had a great qualifying tournament and it's awesome to see them here in the group stages. They're a very dangerous team -- they've got a lot of guys who play county cricket, so they understand the nuances of T20 cricket and especially with the Blast over there, so they're obviously going to be a challenge in the next one. The World Cup is a funny old game, especially in conditions that are here with the pitches that bring everyone close. So, we're going to have to be ready to go from ball one," said Mitchell about Scotland, who had topped the Qualifiers, winning all their games.
New Zealand's World Cup fate will be decided in the next five days as they play three matches in quick succession as Group 2 races to a conclusion. The Black Caps produced a superb performance to beat India and keep their hopes of qualifying for the semifinals alive.
But now the focus shifts to the daytime match against Scotland, who go into the clash in Dubai searching for their maiden 'Super 12' win.
"It was a great team effort the other night against a very strong India side," said New Zealand pace bowler Tim Southee. "We're very pleased with how that went. But now our focus, obviously, shifts to Scotland and three games in five days, which are three day-games as well, which is a challenge in itself.
"So as good a win as it was the other night, we know we have to park it and move on and look forward to a day game against Scotland," added Southee.
New Zealand know their future in the tournament is in their own hands, with three victories being enough to guarantee a semifinal spot. But it is Afghanistan, the last opponent for New Zealand in this three-game run, who currently lie second in Group 2 following their demolitions of both Namibia and Scotland.
And Southee, Williamson and company will be keen to pick up some big wins to reduce the gap in net run rate between themselves on +0.765 and Afghanistan on +3.097 in case it finishes level on points in five days' time.
Scotland have had a week to recover from the disappointment of their loss to Namibia and now go into a busy run of their own, with India and Pakistan still to come in a week that could test Kyle Coetzer's side to the very limit. "The last couple of days we've had some practice where the guys have realigned themselves, gotten themselves prepared for what we're going to face over the next couple of days," the Scotland skipper said.
"The emotions were all very high getting through to the Super 12s. It was something that we set as a target, and we believed that we could do, getting through to Super 12s. When you get through, then there's even more eyes on you and the pressure sort of just… that bar raises just that little bit further."
Scotland are hopeful that Coetzer will be fit to return at the top of the order for Scotland.
Probable Scotland XI: Kyle Coetzer (captain), George Munsey, Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington, Matt Cross, Michael Greaves, Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Josh Davey, Safyaan Sharif, Brad Wheal.
Also Read: T20 World Cup 2021
Probable New Zealand XI: Daryl Mitchell, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (captain), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi.
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