Daniel Vettori is expecting his top-order batsmen to show a bit more aggression and take a few more risks when New Zealand face Zimbabwe in a potentially banana-skin game today. The Black Caps got their World Twenty20 campaign off to a winning start when Nathan McCullum's heroics in the final over, from which they needed 10 runs, gave them a shock two-wicket win over Sri Lanka, last year's finalist.
It was sweet revenge for Vettori's men, who Sri Lanka knocked out of last year's T20 World Cup in England and the semi-finals of the 2007 50-over World Cup in the Caribbean. However, the New Zealand captain was not pleased by the fact his No 9 batsman had to finish the job. The Kiwis were 96 for five in the 17th over chasing just 136. "I think in the middle stages of the batting we've got to be a touch more aggressive," Vettori told the New Zealand Press Association.
"We need to make up more there. We know the bowling's difficult and the fields are set deeper, but with our batting line-up I think we can take a few more risks." Mark Greatbatch, the New Zealand coach, was pleased to start off with a win and is now eyeing the top spot in the group with a win over Zimbabwe, although he has warned it will not be easy against a team who beat Pakistan and Australia in warm-up matches. "It was a really important game for us to really kick off this tournament on a positive note," he said.
"We're trying to work out a method to play on these surfaces. They're a bit slow and low and turning and they're not easy to score boundaries all the time. We've got a bit of work to do about playing spin. "They're not going to be easy. They've got some really good cricket brains and [Dave Houghton, the former international who is the batting coach] is excited about the developing group they've got. It's really good to see Zimbabwe back and involved." * Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi New Zealand v Zimbabwe, 5.30pm on CricOne