New Zealand coach Paul Wiseman believes his young charges are feeling refreshed and ready to go ahead of tomorrow’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018 quarter-final against Afghanistan at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
After three pool games in the space of a week, New Zealand have had the luxury of a five-day gap between their win over South Africa in Tauranga and tomorrow’s encounter, as they bid for a spot in the semi-finals.
“They’ve had a bit of time to freshen up and were champing at the bit yesterday when we got to training so that’s always a good sign,” Wiseman said. “Today is a bit of a lighter one, get their focus right and I don’t think there’ll be any problem for them trying to get up tomorrow, it’ll just be containing those nerves and that adrenalin.”
New Zealand enter tomorrow’s match alongside India as the only teams not to have lost a match so far this tournament. Wiseman’s pleased with how his players have coped so far against tough opposition.
“Although on paper it’s looked like we’ve had some pretty comfortable wins, two of them certainly haven’t been,” Wiseman said. “We’ve been pushed really hard, and the guys soaked up that pressure and put it back on and nailed it when we needed it to, so those are the things from a coach’s perspective that you really want to see.”
Much of their success so far has been down to their top order batting and spin bowling. New Zealand’s top three of Rachin Ravindra, Jakob Bhula and Finn Allen all have over 200 runs so far, while spin has accounted for well over half of their wickets.
“All our starts have been good ones and set up the middle-order,” Wiseman said. “They actually haven’t provided the middle-order with much of a chance to shine themselves which isn’t a bad problem to have. We’re lucky too we’ve got 40 overs up our sleeve of spin in the right conditions. Even when it’s not turning, a lot these guys are pretty good at protecting themselves. There’s different ways to skin a cat and that’s probably the way we’re going to have to go.”