The New Zealand U19 cricket team will play their penultimate warm-up match today, before their ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018 campaign gets underway in Tauranga next week. New Zealand face Zimbabwe at Hagley Park, before their final warm-up against Papua New Guinea on 10 January.
Coach Paul Wiseman says it’s a key opportunity for the 15-man squad to get used to playing together and adjusting to the conditions.
“They all know each other, but haven’t had a lot of game time together,” said Wiseman, “We had two games against Zimbabwe prior to Christmas and then one against Pakistan on Wednesday. We just want to get combinations together and know our bowling plans, all those sorts of little things that you want to get sorted before the opening game. There’s a lot of energy in the camp. Coming to Christchurch and having their first ICC meetings and getting the new kit is pretty exciting for the guys.”
The two remaining warm-up matches provide the last opportunity for the 15 players in the squad to put their hands up for selection ahead of the first pool game against the West Indies at the weekend.
Wiseman admits settling on his strongest XI won’t be an easy task.
“It’s going to be a really tough decision to make and any one of the fifteen would do a good job.
“It’s about getting the right balance for each opposition and pitch. I think we’ve got the players to cover all those situations, so it’ll just come down to those factors.”
Boshier, Watson star in New Zealand win
An all-round effort from captain Kaylum Boshier and Todd Watson has helped New Zealand’s U19 side to a 52-run win in their ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018 warm-up against Zimbabwe at Hagley Park in Christchurch.
New Zealand batted first, with Boshier spending almost 40 overs in the middle, while Watson, who came in at No. 9, hit a quick-fire 50 to set Zimbabwe 221 for victory.
Two wickets in as many balls from Zimbabwe fast bowler Kieran Robinson had New Zealand on the ropes at 7-2 early in the first innings, before Boshier came to the crease to settle things down for his side.
The Central Districts allrounder played a measured innings of 66 runs off 113 deliveries, with just 16 of those runs coming from boundaries.
Once Boshier was dismissed with New Zealand 153-8, Watson took on the Zimbabwe bowling attack. The young product of Hawke’s Bay hit six boundaries, with four of them clearing the rope, en route to a swashbuckling 53 runs off 32 balls. Felix Murray provided able assistance to Watson, as the pair put on 58 runs for the ninth wicket.
Zimbabwe looked to attack from the outset in reply, but it wasn’t long before opening bowler Matthew Fisher found his rhythm and produced the early breakthrough of Donald Mlambo in his third over.
Watson came in at first change in the ninth over and struck immediately, removing opener Gregory Dollar for 25 to halt the visitors’ pursuit.
Jakob Bhula, who made 30 runs opening the batting for the home side, snared a wicket with his second delivery, before Boshier brought himself on not longer after and removed opposite captain Liam Roche for just five runs.
The momentum shifted Zimbabwe’s way as Milton Shumba and Robert Chimhinya put on 74 runs for the fifth wicket, but Boshier’s second spell saw Chiminya and Wesley Madhevere depart in the same over. Boshier finished with figures of 3-17 from his four overs.
Felix Murray took the big scalp of Rhumba in the next over, as New Zealand claimed Zimbabwe’s last six wickets for just 36 runs to seal the victory.
The New Zealand side take on Papua New Guinea in their final warm-up on Wednesday.