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Wright dose works for the Black Caps

india Updated: Mar 05, 2011 00:52 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni

There were no fancy training sessions and the team-building exercise before the match against Zimbabwe was restricted to a 'tell it like it is' session by coach John Wright.

The Black Caps needed more of a wake-up call than coaching tips after their dismal performance against Australia a week ago. The Wright dose made an instant impact as New Zealand came up with a clinical performance to thump Zimbabwe by 10 wickets and take a step closer to the quarterfinals.

The difference was visible. Against Australia, New Zealand had managed just four singles in the first 15 overs with the batsmen only looking for the big hits.

That performance had promoted Wright to ban slog hits at the nets on the eve of the game and the opening combination of Brendon McCullum (76 not out) and Martin Guptill (86 not out) showed the application to execute that plan to nullify the Zimbabwe spinners.

Clinical show
Having come up with a clinical bowling and fielding performance to restrict Zimbabwe to 162, all New Zealand needed was to ensure that their batsmen did not fall prey to the rush of blood syndrome.

Guptill and McCullum were prepared to knock around Zimbabwe's new-ball spinners Ray Price and Prosper Utseya till they got used to the pace of the wicket and then cruised home with 99 balls to spare.

The comfortable victory was set up by a combination of excellent fielding and wicket-to-wicket bowling.

Medium pacer Hamish Bennett’s sharp diving throw from mid on sent back opener Charles Coventry in the second over and new-ball bowlers Tim Southee and the fit-again Kyle Mills sent back Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine even before Zimbabwe had reached the 50-run mark.