Monday, May 27, 2024

ICC: Milne hails New Zealand attack following clinical victory

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Photo Credit: ICC

Adam Milne hailed New Zealand’s ruthless attack after his side convincingly beat Afghanistan to seal their semi-final spot at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Milne took one for 17 from four excellent overs and joined fellow seamers Trent Boult (3/17) and Tim Southee (2/24) in making life difficult for the Afghanistan batters in Abu Dhabi.

Having restricted their opponents to 124 for eight, New Zealand were guided home by an unbroken 68-run stand between Kane Williamson and Devon Conway which secured their Group 2 qualification.

Milne is relishing being part of his side’s feared attack and believes their versatility will stand them in good stead in the last four, where they will play either England or Australia.

“It was pleasing to have a good performance for the whole bowling unit,” he said.

“The way Timmy and Trent started us off really brought a great intensity to the start of the bowling spell and then I was able to continue on that, which was good.

“[The attack] gives Kane [Williamson] a lot of options. We’ve also got Jimmy Neesham, who bowled really well today.

“We’ve got Daryl Mitchell we can bowl and Glenn Phillips who can bowl. There are lot of guys on the team that can offer something when required.

“To have those five specialists has been good for us. Kane has a key bowler he likes to go to and it’s been nice to be part of that five.

“When you’ve got Tim and Trent leading the way with the experience they have. It’s easy to sort of learn and listen off them and they’re able to show you the right way to go about things.”

Milne was not part of New Zealand’s original 15-man squad for the tournament but has seized the opportunity given by Lockie Ferguson’s injury.

And having missed the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finals and final due to an injury of his own, the paceman is hoping to play a key role this time around as New Zealand look to add T20 glory to the ICC World Test Championship they won earlier this year.

“Obviously to come from the reserves and be part of the World Cup now is pretty special, and to qualify for the semi-finals, it’s a great moment,” he said.

“Looking forward to the semi-final, we can put on a performance and make it into the final.

“In T20 cricket, it’s important to put a full team performance in. Obviously the bowling group has been doing well as a group.

“But in T20 cricket, any one day a few guys can have their day. It’s important as a group we bowl well, restrict and try to be aggressive and then obviously with the bat we’ve been pretty clinical so far. So hopefully that can continue.

“The game changes in T20 if you’re able to take wickets at a start like we were today. If we can continue to do that, that will put us in good positions to be able to control the innings.

“Whatever team we were playing the semi-final is going to be a really good team and likely very aggressive.

“We just need to make sure we go and bat with some aggression and use our skills as well.”

Afghanistan came into their final Group 2 match with slim qualification hopes of their own but quickly slipped to 19 for three having opted to bat at the toss.

Najibullah Zadran’s excellent 73 gave them hope but Afghanistan’s total was ultimately around 30 runs light, leaving them with four points from their five games.

Gulbadin Naib is taking the positives from his side’s overall performances in the UAE, however, and said: “First of all, you look at the start of the tournament, we beat West Indies in the warm-up game, and also we beat Scotland in a one-sided game.

“And then if you look at the Pakistan side and India side, it’s not easy. They’re big teams and they didn’t give a single chance.

“We have a lot of work [to do] on our team and before this World Cup we didn’t have much time to prepare our team.

“We came out here three days before the tournament. Our team and our boys deliver very quickly and we did a lot of good things here.

“Also a good thing for us is we qualified for the next World Cup. We’re in the top eight. But it’s a lot of work now and we’re going to work harder and harder.”

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