Dubai: Trouble is mounting for New Zealand ahead of their crucial Super-12 clash against India in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Dubai on Sunday.
The Black Caps were without their pace ace Lockie Ferguson, who was impressive on the UAE pitches during the Indian Premier League for Kolkata Knight Riders, as he pulled out of the World Cup just ahead of their first clash against Pakistan due to calf tear.
If that is not bad enough, now veteran opener Martin Guptill is under injury cloud after being hit on the big toe by a yorker from Haris Rauf before being dismissed the next ball. Guptill’s painful limp back to the pavilion suggested all is not well.
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“We’ll see how he scrubs up overnight,” coach Gary Stead told reporters after the match on Tuesday. “He looked in a little bit of discomfort at the end of the game and it might take 24 to 48 hours to see how he goes.”
Kane Williamson’s team need to get their batting in order as they struggled to force the pace against incisive bowling from Pakistan pacers. Absence of Guptill could further weaken the batting as skipper Kane Williamson is yet to find his groove. The star batter was showing signs of finding his touch but an indiscretion led to his run-out dismissal.
The New Zealand batting was rudderless after his exit when they failed to score a boundary for almost a five-over period towards the back end of the innings.
Even Williamson’s team composition had come under scrutiny from former New Zealand players, Ian Smith and Brendon McCullum, IANS reported.
“The selection process seemed a little bit odd — the balance a little bit off. The Blackcap regrouping process will need to be swift,” said Smith on SENZ Mornings.
Echoing Smith’s view, McCullum said on SENZ Breakfast: “I looked at that team and I just felt the balance of that side was just a little bit off — I’d personally like to see them play another bowler in those conditions. There’s just a couple of areas I wouldn’t mind seeing us tidy up going into the next game.”
McCullum even questioned the decision to open with allrounder Daryl Mitchell, who bats mainly in the middle-order. “I find it strange for two, three years of preparation, we never once opened the batting with Daryl Mitchell, and then he finds himself opening the batting in foreign conditions in the first game of a World Cup. It would be nice if we could get those answers.”
Though the loss to Pakistan has raised a few questions, Stead exudes confidence ahead of next game. “You sometimes have to lose one to find out the important things for you. If we can go and beat India, then we certainly put ourselves back on the right track,” he said.