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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

New Zealand had wake-up call: Bracewell

Pritha Sarkar | March 08, 2007 11:27 IST

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New Zealand coach John Bracewell said his team had received a timely "wake-up call" after their winning streak was snapped by Bangladesh in a World Cup warm-up match.

The Kiwis had been expected to carry on from the stunning 3-0 rout of champions Australia last month but they came unstuck on Tuesday when Bangladesh pulled off an unlikely two-wicket victory in the 3Ws stadium.

"It's either the best thing that could have happened to us or the worst thing. We're going to look at it as the best thing," Bracewell told reporters on Wednesday.

"It's a wake-up call. (It gave us a chance to) get used to the conditions and respecting opposition that we're going to come across in our pool play."

New Zealand will face Sri Lanka in their final warm-up game on Friday before beginning their World Cup campaign on March 16 against England.

With minnows Canada and Kenya lined up as their other opponents in Group C, Bracewell admitted his team can no longer take victory for granted against the smaller nations.

"Teams that you're expected to beat but if you're complacent and not quite ready, then on these sorts of wickets they can kick your butt," he said.

"We came across a reasonably sticky surface yesterday, a lot slower, even a lot slower than the wickets we practice on. It was a bit tacky in the morning and it gives us an indication of what the 9.30 starts are going to be like.

"Then it's that matter of getting through those first 15 overs of that tackiness if you're going to bat first, making sure you've got wickets in hand.

"It was also interesting to see the wicket take a lot more turn in the afternoon than it did in the early part of the day. There were a lot of things to learn out of the game and we're going to take the positives from it."

Sri Lanka had also played their opening warm-up match on the same ground but had no problem beating Scotland by 159 runs.

With such an authoritative display on the ground that had caused New Zealand so much grief, Bracewell now believes the Asian side could be one of the front-runners for the title.

"We must execute up front with both bat and ball," he said.

"We need to take the intensity up another notch. Sri Lanka, given my observation of their game against Scotland, they have probably shifted as one of the tournament favourites as they have greater flexibility across the board for these conditions, with their spin and upfront swingers.

"They probably have the best tools available and we have to adapt to that very quickly," he added.

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