Taylor, Latham cut loose in NZ win over BP XI

Ross Taylor and Tom Latham hit centuries as the visiting New Zealanders collected a 33-run win over Board President’s XI ahead of the One-Day International series against India.

Ross Taylor and Tom Latham put on 166 runs for the fourth wicket.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

With the clear intention of finding an opening partner for Martin Guptill, New Zealand put on trial Colin Munro in the two warm-up games against the Board President’s XI at the Brabourne Stadium. Munro has been seriously considered as he is a left-hander who could potentially complement well the right-hander Guptill, although in the 24 ODIs he has played, Munro has been sent in at Nos. 5, 6, 7 together on 18 occasions.

Luke Ronchi’s decision to quit international cricket after the ICC Champions Trophy last June had necessitated the search for a new opening pair, as Tom Latham is all set to wear the big gloves. The combination of Guptill and Tom Latham has delivered 964 runs in 23 matches, second only to the the pair of Guptill and Brendon McCullum, who scored 1904 runs together.

Facing the home team’s experienced hands in Jaydev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni in the the two warm-up games, Guptill and Munro put together 24 and 46, and unless there is a dramatic development, New Zealand is likely to stick with this pair for the first ODI at the Wankhede. Munro, known for the fearless and free ways of batting, has not batted as an opener or at No. 3 so far.

The New Zealand camp would be satisfied with bringing in a left-hander at the top of the order and earn a hard-earned victory in the second warm-up game on Thursday. It would also be pleased that Ross Taylor - seen as a fulcrum in its batting order - and Latham batted fluently on a well rolled out pitch and score centuries each.

Taylor brings in a wealth of experience, having played 190 ODIs, and during the course of his two hour-six minute tenure in the middle on Thursday, he struck 14 fours and one six before retiring to the pavilion. Latham struck a six and four off left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat over mid-wicket to cross the century mark and he soon followed in the footsteps of Taylor. Latham, who scored 244 runs in five ODIs against India last year, faced 97 balls and struck seven fours and two sixes.

Early wickets

The home team made early inroads, removing Guptill, Munro and Williamson, with leg-spinner Karn Sharma making an impact in his opening spell, but Taylor and Latham had the answers to deal with both Sharma and left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem. Unadkat persevered and ended his full quota with a four-wicket haul.

The home team was always going to find the target of 344 a little stiff and the fall of Prithvi Shah, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer put the visitor in a commanding position. Shah was bowled neck and crop by left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner.

Gurkeerat Mann helped himself with a half-century and the ninth-wicket pair of Unadkat and Kulkarni hit out to add 64 off 46 balls, before the visitor clinched victory to get some confidence ahead of practice at the Wankhede on Friday.

Williamson used 11 bowlers in an all-given-a-chance-to-play match, but he did not give his frontline pacemen in Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Adam Milne more than four overs each.

The scores

New Zealand 343 for 8 in 50 overs (Latham 108, Taylor 102; Unadkat 4 for 57) beat Board President’s XI 310 in 47.1 overs (Mann 65, Nair 53, Unadkat 44; Santner 3 for 44) by 33 runs.

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