Kiwis put dull Canada away
New Zealand booked a place in the World Cup quarter-finals with a comprehensive 97-run win over Canada in Mumbai on Sunday.
The Black Caps’ fourth win out of five takes them to the top of Group A, which means their final game against Sri Lanka will only affect who and where they play in the last eight.
The match in Mumbai was, to say the least, one of the less entertaining contests of the tournament so far. Certainly it was an inauspicious first game at the venue that will host the final next month.
The simple tale of the day was that New Zealand posted an efficient 358/6, after which Canada simply occupied the crease for 50 overs without any serious attempt to chase their imposing target.
Canada’s outing started well as their captain Ashish Bagai won the toss and put New Zealand in to bat. But any hopes he had of restricting the Kiwis soon disappeared.
McCULLUM TOOK CENTRE STAGE
A century for opening batsman Brendon McCullum took centre stage in the Kiwi batting effort of 358/6, which looked a very easy affair as the New Zealanders barely broke into a sweat.
Stand-in skipper Ross Taylor said openers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum, who put on 53 for the first wicket, had given the side a good platform.
"Our game-plan is to try and keep wickets in hand. Our strength is our lower-order batting and the power that we have," he said.
Ordinary bowling and poor fielding meant Canada were never able to exert any pressure on the batsmen, and the Black Caps took advantage.
New Zealand started quickly and kept the run-rate healthy throughout the innings. When there were quiet periods, they never lasted long, and it looked like the Kiwis were simply enjoying a middle practice.
It could well have been worse for Canada, as McCullum got himself caught for 101 immediately after calling for the batting power play in the 37th over.
FARCICAL FINAL OVER AND TERRIBLE START
Canada also did well to get rid of Taylor just as the Kandy centurion was getting into his stride a few overs later. His 44-ball innings of 74 had shades of that knock against Pakistan about it, but he was well caught by a diving Jimmy Hansra in the 41st over.
The Canadians might have restricted New Zealand to around 330, but a farcical final over from Rizwan Cheema went for 31 runs as James Franklin made merry with three sixes and two fours.
Canada’s reply got off to a terrible start when Kyle Mills quickly had both Ruvindu Gunasekara and Zubin Surkari caught by Taylor at slip.
If Canada had any intent before those losses reduced them to 4/2, it certainly disappeared at that moment.
That was disappointing when you consider that Bagai and Hiral Patel put on 46 for the third wicket and brought up Canada’s 50 in the 13th over.
By that stage Canada had also had the bonus of watching their chief tormentor Mills leave the field with a strain in his third over, unable to bowl again in the match. This left the Kiwi attack a lot shorter on venom.
Once Patel was dismissed, though, the innings completely stalled as Bagai seemingly became more interested in making runs for himself. The captain and Jimmy Hansra put on 125 for the fourth wicket, but it was a totally unthreatening stand with a scoring rate of just over five an over – way less than what was needed.
Poor fitness certainly affected the Canadian cause. Bagai began to struggle later in his innings and received treatment more than once before Nathan McCullum had him caught behind for 84.
Hansra also made runs for himself, reaching a half-century before he too was hit by what looked like simple cramp. After some lengthy treatment and the brief use of a runner, he eventually retired hurt on 53.
From there it was just a matter of playing out the overs. Hansra played a part by returning to take his score up to 62 not out as Canada eventually ended almost 100 short on 235/8.
A disappointed Bagai admitted his side never looked like chasing down New Zealand's total.
"Decent play by the middle order again but we didn't push on and never looked like getting 360," he said.
"It was nice to get runs (personally) but again we came up on the losing side. I think we lost it in the first half of the game."
New Zealand – Brendon McCullum (wk), Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor (capt), Kane Williamson, Scott Styris, James Franklin, Nathan McCullum, Jacob Oram, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee
Canada – Ruvindu Gunasekara, Zubin Surkari, Ashish Bagai (capt & wk), Jimmy Hansra, Rizwan Cheema, John Davison, Hiral Patel, Harvir Baidwan, Khurram Chohan, Balaji Rao, Henry Osinde