LONDON (Reuters) – A power-hitting West Indian side will provide the perfect opportunity to test bowling tactics in the final ‘death’ overs ahead of the Cricket World Cup, New Zealand bowling coach Shane Jurgensen has said.
While New Zealand’s bowlers produced a superb performance at the top of the innings in Saturday’s six-wicket win over India, Jurgensen said the warmup match against Jason Holder’s side on Tuesday should give them the chance to work on finishing off an innings as well.
“They’ll put us under pressure and I think that will be key for us, especially for the bowlers,” Jurgensen said. “One key area for all teams in this tournament is how you bowl at the death and limiting those boundaries in the last 10 overs.
“Taking wickets at the top will be a key component but at the back end of the innings you want to not leak too many boundaries and keep scores to a modest total.”
Jurgensen added that he was pleased with the way Trent Boult, who took three early wickets, bowled against India, with his performance also showing how vital it was to exploit what swing is available during the tournament.
The Oval pitch supported New Zealand’s bowlers against India but Jurgensen did not expect the ball to swing or seam as much in the tournament, predicting that opening bowlers might only get assistance for their first two overs.
“It was a good start against India but we can’t get too excited,” Jurgensen said. “We need to keep trucking on and working our way through the tournament.
“It’s a long campaign. Every time we play we need to make sure that we execute in all departments.”
Jurgensen added that Matt Henry, unused against India, was likely to play against West Indies in Bristol and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham said it was vital that the whole squad saw some action ahead of their tournament opener against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on June 1.
“Getting some overs into the legs of the guys that didn’t bowl so much in the last game and hopefully getting a few runs as well,” Neesham said of the goal for Tuesday’s game.
“From here on in it’s about making the guys feel comfortable so that we can hit that first game knowing that we can do it.
“The World Cup is the pinnacle and the guys are really buzzing. We have to keep the excitement under wraps.”
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)