THE Blacks Caps are hoping their skill in the field will help them progress to a Twenty20 semifinal at the World Cup in Sri Lanka.
The New Zealanders have moved into Group 1 of the Super Eights following a win and a loss in the early stages, and will face the hosts, England and the West Indies in the coming days.
New Zealand prides themselves on their fielding, but they were off their game against Bangladesh and Pakistan, dropping two catches in each match as well as being slightly untidy.
Generally, led by the brilliant Nathan McCullum, they are top-notch in the field.
“Fielding’s very under-rated in Twenty20 cricket and I think you can swing a game by 15 or 20 runs your own way if you field well and outfield the opposition and take a couple of magic chances,” McCullum told Fairfax NZ.
“That’s something we’re definitely going to be focused on.”
“We pride ourselves on being a good fielding unit and I’m hopeful that we can go out and express ourselves again in a couple of days’ time and show why we’re touted as one of the No. 1 fielding sides in the world.”
They can also increase their chances of progressing by batting first.
All five Twenty20 matches played at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy, venue for New Zealand’s next three matches, have been won by the side batting first.
“It’s hard with such a small sample…but the wicket definitely slowed up towards the end of our bowling innings [against Pakistan] and then it definitely slowed up more and more as our batting innings went on,” said McCullum.
“So I think that it’s something to be aware of. It may be a 10 or 15-run swing when you’re batting first sometimes.
“You have to look at stats of grounds, and oppositions, and see how they stack up and whether they stack up in your favour or not. In some ways, hopefully Ross [captain Ross Taylor] wins the toss [against Sri Lanka] and gets that decision and we’ll keep that trend going.”
New Zealand play Sri Lanka tomorrow.