T20 World Cup Wrap: Semi-final hopes alive, time for Scotland
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Kristy Havill

And with that victory over India, there was a big sigh of relief from New Zealand cricket fans.

It wasn’t just any old win that saw the Blackcaps make it five wins in a row against the subcontinent heavyweights at ICC events, but an eight-wicket shellacking – don’t mind if we do. A classy all-round performance, and one that has given their semi-final hopes a huge boost. 

However, they haven’t got much time to rest on their laurels, with a bumper schedule coming up over the rest of the week, starting with Scotland tomorrow night (NZT) in Dubai. Namibia and Afghanistan then follow in quick succession afterwards. 

Rightly so, the majority of the Blackcaps’ focus to date would have been on the first two matches against Pakistan and India, but with the group standings as tight as they are, net run rate could play a crucial role in determining who clinches the playoff spots. Recording emphatic wins over Scotland and Namibia cannot be underestimated. 

The Blackcaps may take the opportunity to rest and rotate a couple of players out to give wider squad members a chance to make their first appearances. Kyle Jamieson, Todd Astle and Mark Chapman are yet to be sighted so far. 

If skipper Kane Williamson’s elbow hasn’t pulled up well following his guiding knock of 33 from 31 balls against India, or Martin Guptill’s toe which had him initially in doubt to play, then Tim Seifert could come back into the XI up the order for some time at the crease to get his confidence up.

In the event of Williamson sitting out a game, the captaincy reins would likely be handed to Tim Southee who has filled the role well in the past. That could leave Trent Boult as the seamer who might sit out for Jamieson to make his T20 World Cup bow, which also gives Adam Milne another opportunity to get some overs under his belt. 

It seems unlikely that Astle, Sodhi and Mitchell Santner would all feature in this fixture, particularly if Chapman makes an appearance too. Sodhi was brilliant against India, as his 2-17 off four overs really put the brakes on proceedings through the middle overs and earned him the player of the match award. He has proven time and again what he is capable of, so now would be a good time to bring in a like-for-like replacement and give Astle his first crack in the tournament.

Scotland were originally scheduled to host the Blackcaps at home during their summer of 2020, but after that was cancelled due to the pandemic, they will be looking forward to finally matching up against them.

While they did go through the group stage unbeaten, the Scots haven’t had a happy time of things in Super 12 after losses to Afghanistan and Namibia. With New Zealand, India, and Pakistan all to come, they’ll be wanting to glean some positives to take home with them.

Hard-hitting opener batter George Munsey has been solid without being spectacular and will be looking to make amends after his golden duck against Namibia last time out. Richie Berrington will be looking to do the same after he was the notable batter for the team during the group stages but has failed to fire the last two games. 

All-rounder Michael Leask was the significant bright spot in their last outing, the defeat to Namibia, after top-scoring with 44 off 27 and taking 2/12 from two overs. 

Rest assured, Scotland will give it everything they have, so our men in black (or teal) will need to come out of the blocks equally firing.  

*Kristy Havill is a Canterbury Magicians cricketer, and a former world championship silver medallist in clay target shooting. Her Twenty20 World Cup columns on Stuff are courtesy of Sky TV, which is broadcasting the tournament live.