Brendon McCullum is a man who can take the game away, but he is also prone to ‘brain explosions’, says David Warner
The combative Aussie batsman Warner fired the opening shots in the mindgame war before the two teams meet on Saturday at Eden Park. They are both in line to top Pool A.
McCullum, the country’s sportsman of the year, is all the rage in New Zealand, where optimism is high about the prospects of toppling their close neighbours in Saturday’s World Cup meeting in Auckland.
He blasted the tournament’s fastest ever fifty in their annihilation of England in Wellington and coming off a year in which he became New Zealand’s first triple centurion in Test cricket, and posted two other double centuries and a score of 195, the hype about the Black Caps captain is merited.
‘If out bowlers bowl the right line and lengths we’ll get him out. He’s a player who can come down the wicket, use the off side well. We’ve got to back our strengths. If we bowl well to him, we’ll create the pressure and he’ll have a brain explosion.’
Warner is looking forward to a rough reception at a sold-out Eden Park. ‘I hope they come out and boo us and give us cr*p like they always do,’ he said. ‘That’s what’s going to happen. We love it, it gets us up and going, gets the adrenaline going for sure.’
Wayward Chatara gets reprimand
Zimbabwe seamer Tendai Chatara was reprimanded by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday for bowling two successive dangerous deliveries at West Indies record breaker Chris Gayle in their World Cup clash.
Chatara was hauled out of the attack in the 50th over after he bowled a second consecutive high, full-pitched ball to Gayle. He was reported for dangerous and unfair bowling.
‘I took into account the mitigating factor of the wet ball which could have resulted in the bowler not being able to have complete control of the deliveries,’ said match referee Roshan Mahanama.
Sri Lanka lose Jeevan Mendis
Jeevan Mendis will play no further role in the World Cup, said captain Angelo Mathews, after the allrounder had sustained a mild-to-moderate inner hamstring muscle injury at training.
The team had originally hoped the injury would only keep Mendis out for about 10 days, but scans have since shown the damage to be more severe than initially estimated. Sri Lanka have flown out Upul Tharanga to take Mendis’ place.
Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya said he is unlikely to play against Bangladesh on Thursday, thanks to the time of his arrival. In any case Sri Lanka had moved Lahiru Thirimanne to the opening position, and may be wary of shifting him down the order again, at such short notice.
Scotland, Afghanistan play for bragging rights
Scotland and Afghanistan are each targeting a first-ever Cricket World Cup victory when they meet in Dunedin on Thursday.
Afghanistan looked a realistic prospect of upsetting Sri Lanka last weekend when they reduced the former world champions to 51-4 before a Mahela Jayawardene century consigned them to a four-wicket defeat, while Scotland gave co-hosts New Zealand some nervous moments when they took seven wickets as the Black Caps, one of the tournament favourites, chased a paltry 143-run target.
Both of the Associate nations have now lost two from two in their Pool A matches and have virtually no chance of reaching the quarterfinals, making a maiden victory their major goal for the tournament.