Black Caps talk down hype after huge win over India

Martin Guptill of New Zealand ducks a bouncing ball during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up match between India and New Zealand. Photo: Getty Images
Martin Guptill of New Zealand ducks a bouncing ball during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up match between India and New Zealand. Photo: Getty Images

For good reason, the Black Caps are dousing embers of hype after crushing India in their opening World Cup warm up match in London. This is the prelims, after all.

Trent Boult and the bowling unit will harness confidence after seizing on favourable conditions to rip through India's vaunted batting line up, but the Black Caps are also well aware the swing and seam they savoured at the Oval is unlikely to be replicated throughout the tournament.

Boult's 4-33 and Jimmy Neesham's welcome 3-26 made an immediate impression. India's best had no answers for the sideways movement extracted from the surprisingly moist, green surface, posting a limp 179 from 39.2 overs.

In reply Colin Munro's struggles to press his claims at the top continued as he departed to a third ball lbw, and Martin Guptill also looked uncomfortable before holing out for 22.

Half centuries from Kane Williamson (67 off 87) and Ross Taylor (71 off 75) guided New Zealand to a commanding six-wicket victory, with almost 13 overs to spare.

Black Caps coach Gary Stead is, however, keeping the result in context, with one more warm up fixture – against the West Indies in Bristol on Tuesday – before the tournament gets underway.

"We haven't got together and played for the best part of two months now so these two games are really important in terms of reacquainting ourselves with each other and the way we play," Stead said.

"I thought the lengths our bowlers bowled were outstanding for a first blowout. Will the conditions be the same around the country? We are planning for them to be a bit different everywhere we play.

"By the time we get to July it might be different. It probably depends on the summer that we have but if it stays dry I expect the spinners will come into play a bit more.

Trent Boult ripped the top off the Indian batting line-up, showing good form before the World Cup...
Trent Boult ripped the top off the Indian batting line-up, showing good form before the World Cup starts next weekend. Photo: Getty Images
"We pride ourselves on our adaptability. We didn't try preconceive anything just play what was in-front of us.\

"Today has no bearing on what's ahead. It's nice we get some confidence but we'll let this go pretty quickly and move onto West Indies and find out more about them as well.

"When we play India in Trent Bridge in a couple of weeks whatever happened today doesn't really matter."

Boult, too, is not banking on such swing throughout the tournament, though he is hopeful of putting the brakes on widespread predictions for mega totals.

"I'd love to expect that everywhere but it looks like there's some good wickets around the country so it will be a good challenge," Boult said.

"I hope no one is getting 500. I haven't heard too much chat about that but who knows? The one day format is a good challenge. Seeing big scores posted is a bit intimidating but on the flipside these totals are getting chased as well so it's amazing.

"The ball still has a role to play. The 2015 World Cup was some of the most exciting times I've been involved in. The ball hasn't really swung around like that since then.

"We know if we put the ball in the right areas and take early wickets that's a good way to stop an opposition."

Stead is promising changes for the West Indies with Matt Henry, who sat out this match alongside injured wicketkeeper Tom Latham, due a crack but it seems Munro may yet get another chance to open with Guptill.

"Not sure if we'll change the order yet but certainly Matt Henry is highly likely to get a run in the next game. We've got a squad of 15 and it's our intention in these first couple of games that we've got all guys ready. You never know what can happen at the last minute with training injuries."

Latham's fractured finger is ahead of schedule, with him batting and catching balls, but there are no guarantees he will be fit for the opening match against Sri Lanka on June 1 in Cardiff.

"Because of that it's made us look at the options we have around our batting order. The reason Henry Nicholls batted at five today shows us the versatility he has. We also know he can bat at the top as well so it gives us some different options to keep considering."

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