New Zealand power through
Brendon McCullum’s rapid century and some brutal hitting from the middle and lower order set New Zealand on their way to a predictable win over Canada - and a place in the World Cup quarter-finals.
McCullum made 101 off 109 balls, but he was trumped to an extent by stand-in captain Ross Taylor, who hit four sixes and a four in an over on the way to 74 off 44.
Scott Styris’ 20-ball 35 added further impetus to an innings which climaxed with James Franklin smashing three sixes and two fours in a final over that cost 31. He finished unbeaten on 31 from eight deliveries.
They combined to propel New Zealand to a mammoth 358 for six - the second highest total in this year’s tournament - to which Canada managed 261 for nine in reply despite Ashish Bagai’s 84 and an equally commendable 70 not out from Jimmy Hansra.
Victory at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, by the margin of 97 runs, took the Black Caps to the top of Group A, while ending Canada’s mathematical - if not realistic - hopes of qualifying for the last eight.
Australia, by beating beat Kenya in Bangalore later in the day, joined New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the knockout stages as well as all but confirming Pakistan’s progression.
The foundations for New Zealand’s win - their fourth in five games - were unquestionably laid with the bat after Canada won the toss at the ground where the final will be held.
“Our strength is the lower-order hitting, and we try to keep wickets in hand and set ourselves for a go,” said Taylor, leading the side in the absence of the injured Daniel Vettori.
“We lost the game in the first half itself. Ross came up with a blistering knock,” said Canada skipper Bagai. “We also batted well but those efforts were not enough while chasing such a big total.”
McCullum, cutting and pulling with power and panache, dominated an opening stand of 53 that was broken when Martin Guptill was superbly caught behind by Bagai, standing up to Harvir Baidwan.
Henry Osinde was taken for three fours in an over by a dominant McCullum, and Baidwan came in for similat treatment from Jesse Ryder, who nonetheless wasted a chance for a sizeable score when he lofted John Davison to long-on shortly after being dropped at cover.
McCullum had struck 12 fours and two sixes by the time he drilled Baidwan to extra-cover the over after he went to three figures, but Taylor ensured Canada’s joy was brief.
Having helped take 100 off the last five overs of the innings against Pakistan on Tuesday, he was largely responsible for New Zealand scoring 78 during five overs of batting powerplay today.
Baidwan came in for the harshest treatment, deposited four times over the leg-side boundary and once through cover in an over that made a considerable dent in eventual figures of 3-84.
Balaji Rao’s dismissals of Taylor, who sliced to point, and Nathan McCullum, caught and bowled via a leading edge, in successive overs merely allowed New Zealand to demonstrate their strength in depth.
Styris and Kane Williamson made hay against a bedraggled attack before Franklin’s astonishing assault left Cheema nursing figures of 0-64 from 4.5 overs. That he was withdrawn from the attack by the umpires for bowling a second full toss above waist height came as something of a relief.
Canada’s response was never likely to be anything other than an exercise in delaying the inevitable, although Bagai and Hansra enhanced their reputations and added respectability to a scorecard that read 50 for three when they came together.
Bagai was the more aggressive of the pair, only to be undermined by the onset of cramp - it also affected Hansra later on - before edging Nathan McCullum behind.
Jacob Oram was the chief beneficiary as Canada’s tail offered no more than token resistance - he finished with 3-47 from 10 overs - and it was a measure of New Zealand’s dominance that their greatest concern was the leg injury which forced Kyle Mills out of the attack after he reduced Canada to four for two.
Taylor added: “We have to wait for a couple of days and check on Kyle Mills. He is a key part of the team.”