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New Zealand eyeing top-two Group A finish: Nathan

Posted by on March 17, 2011 0 Comment

Mumbai, March 17 (IANS) New Zealand’s all-rounder Nathan McCullum says the team is taking their World Cup match against Sri Lanka Friday seriously and is eyeing a top-two finish in Group A.

Both the teams have entered the knockout stage and the match will decide the group positions.

“Obviously, we are excited to make the quarterfinals but as far as we are concerned our job is not done. We have got a very important game tomorrow and we are hoping to go into that with the purpose of winning. It will be great to win and finish in the top two of this group and make it easy moving forward to the quarter finals,” McCullum told reporters Thursday on the eve of the match at the Wankhede Stadium.

Not many had given New Zealand a chance in the tournament but off-spinner McCullum said they have been playing consistently well and will look to come good in the knockout stage.

“I guess you could say that our record in the big tournaments has been reasonably successful but at the same time, we haven’t won a big tournament for a number of years. We are desperately looking to do it in this tournament. In the last few weeks that’s what we have been really working on and hopefully will carry on tomorrow by just playing consistent cricket,” he said.

Asked how much the pitch will assist the spinners, McCullum said: “It depends on what type of spinner you are and how you work in the team. I guess there are different types of roles for spinners.

“My role for this team is to work hard and try and go for 40-45 runs off my 10 overs. And if I pick up one or two wickets then I do well, especially having a role with the bat as well.

“Different people have different roles. In the Sri Lankan team, you have big wicket-takers like Muttiah Muralitharan. He is a big threat for any team,” he said.

McCullum hoped the team will continue to perform consistently.

“There are a number of teams that can beat anyone on a given day. That’s the beauty of it but that hasn’t happened much in Group A.

“You have always got to look to improve and get better. That’s what I have been trying to do. Game plans have come a little bit more into it and role clarity has been a little bit easier to find. Hopefully, we can be consistent in what we are doing in that way,” he said.

McCullum said he would like to get some tips from Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, as also from Muralitharan.

“I will love to sit down with people like Murali and Harbhajan and talk to them about how I can be up there and add something to my repertoire but at the moment my focus is on winning games for New Zealand and I would like to do that in the way I have done in the past,” he said.

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