New Zealand Cricket Team
New Zealand Cricket Team-AFP

Gary Stead, New Zealand coach, has brushed off T20 World Cup warm-up losses to Australia and England, believing the Black Caps got just what they wanted out of the games as they prepare for their tournament opener against Pakistan on October 26.

New Zealand, one of the favourites to win the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, has suffered back-to-back losses in their warm-up matches. Wednesday’s 13-run defeat at the hands of England in Abu Dhabi followed a final-over thriller against Australia (win by 3 wickets) on Monday.

Gary Stead - Getty Images
Gary Stead – Getty Images

Gary Stead: The Three Warm-Up Games Gave Everyone Some Match Time

However, New Zealand coach Gary Stead has brushed off T20 World Cup warm-up losses to Australia and England alongside a narrow win over minnows Netherlands, believing the Black Caps got just what they wanted out of the warm-up games as they prepare for their tournament opener against Pakistan on October 26.

“Really, the three games for us have just been about getting everyone some match time,” Gary Stead told reporters from Abu Dhabi.

“It’s been making sure we’ve slotted people in in roles they might play, and managing our bowlers as well. Three games in five days might not sound much but when you have the heat and humidity that he have here, it’s pretty sapping.”

Martin Guptill - AP
Martin Guptill – AP
Steve Smith made a 30-ball 35 while scores in the twenties from Marcus Stoinis, Aaron Finch, Mitchell Marsh, and Ashton Agar helped Australia through in a chase of 159 against New Zealand with three wickets and one ball to spare. Australia needed 19 off the last seven balls when Ashton Agar hooked a six before in the final over the uncapped Josh Inglis scooped his first ball for four then edged the winning boundary to the third man.
New Zealand made 158 for 7 – after being asked to bat first – on the back of quickfire runs from Martin Guptill (30), Daryl Mitchell (35), Kane Williamson (37), and James Neesham (31).

The Black Caps edged the Netherlands by six runs in their opening Twenty20 World Cup warm-up game on Sunday (NZ time). With skipper Kane Williamson and Mark Chapman both nursing hamstring niggles, Martin Guptill captained a New Zealand side who had just 11 players to pick from in very hot conditions at the ICC Academy in Dubai. Daryl Mitchell top-scored with 40 alongside regular opener Martin Guptill (32).

Fellow all-rounder James Neesham hit 33, assisted well through the middle by Devon Conway (16), who was also taking the wicketkeeping gloves in this game, as the Kiwis posted 154-8 from their 20 overs. In reply, the Dutch got close, ending on 148-8. Leg-spinners Ish Sodhi and Todd Astle claimed two wickets apiece, while Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Adam Milne, and Mitchell Santner shared the other four.

Gary Stead: Kane Williamson Was Rested As A Precautionary Measure After His Elbow Flared Up After Australia Match

Captain Kane Williamson was rested from the England game due to an elbow injury, Gary Stead said.

“Kane’s elbow flared up a bit after the (Australia) match so today was more precautionary than anything,” Gary Stead added.

“We just feel if we can get his preparation right and not overhitting and aggravating it in training, that gives him the best chance of being right throughout the tournament. I think, on the whole, we’re tracking really well,” Gary Stead said.

The Black Caps open their campaign against Pakistan at Sharjah and will also play a qualifier at the venue in their fourth match of the Super 12. New Zealand will play their last three group matches in the space of five days, and Gary Stead said it was conceivable that Kane Williamson might have to be rested at some point in that period.

“There’s always that chance, but we’re still pretty hopeful and confident that if we get (his) rest right now, then he should be right to play,” Gary Stead said.

Kane Williamson. Photo: @ICC
Kane Williamson. Photo: @ICC

England beat New Zealand by 13 runs in their second warm-up match ahead of the IC T20 World Cup Super 12 stages. Jos Buttler was the star with the bat for the Three Lions as he scored 73 runs in 51 balls with the help of 11 fours and 2 sixes.

Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings made handy contributions down the order to help England score 163/6 in 20 overs. In response, the Kiwis were bowled out for 150. Mark Wood finished with figures of 4/23, while leg spinner Adil Rashid picked up 3 wickets. Martin Guptill played a useful knock of 41 at the top of the order, but the rest of New Zealand’s batters failed to show up.