Dubai: The Black Caps, who had hardly put a foot wrong during their eight-wicket win against India on Sunday, are likely to prove too hot for qualifiers Scotland when they square off in the day game of Super-12 stage of ICC T20 World Cup in Dubai on Wednesday.
Shrugging off a five-wicket defeat against Pakistan in their Group 2 opener, Kane Williamson’s men held their nerves and executed their gameplan to perfection to shut out a star-studded India by eight wickets at the same venue. Their win, alongwith Afghanistan’s superior run-rate which now sees them occupying second spot in the table, has thrown open the race for the second team from the group after Pakistan to make the semi-finals.
Scotland, who were one of the surprise packages early on when they topped their group in the qualifiers, had looked completely out of depth in their two matches so far. They have some quality performers in their ranks in George Munsey and Chris Greaves, but it’s difficult to seem them punch above their weight against one of the title-contenders.
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Looking back at their big win against India, coach Gary Stead underlined their gameplan: “When you play a big team as star-studded as India are, then you actually have got to make sure you fire some shots at them as well. If you can put them under pressure, then hopefully it puts you on the upper-hand of the game for periods of time. The way our bowlers bowled in that first innings was absolutely superb.
“They didn’t let India off at all. I think there were 71 balls bowled without a boundary hit from the sixth over, pretty amazing on a ground with a good surface,” Stead was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.
While New Zealand has had the benefit of a core group for long, they have a X-factor in their batting order in opener Daryl Mitchell, who had been in fine touch in his two innings of a 20-ball 27 against Pakistan and 35-ball 49 against India. He should also make merry against a pedestrian Scotland attack and also chip in with his handy medium pace as well.
While the day game will negate the possibility of dew factor, the target for the Black Caps will be to improve on their run-rate if that becomes the determining factor in the end.
Scotland are placed at the bottom of the table in Group 2 and have lost the only time they faced the Kiwis in a T20 World Cup tie. It’s difficult to see a twist in the script on Wednesday.
Catch the match
New Zealand vs Scotland
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Match starts at 2 pm UAE