Vettori desperate to beat hoodoo
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has challenged his team to go one step further in the ICC Champions Trophy upon sealing yet another semi-final spot.
The Black Caps made it through to a last-four meeting with Pakistan after a four-wicket win over England yesterday extended their trend.
However, despite getting to the same stage at both the World Cup and World Twenty20 in 2007 and the previous Champions Trophy in 2006, they have not taken the decisive final step.
“It is about time we made a final then,” said Vettori. “There is a lot of determination in the group when we come to these tournaments and there is an expectation of us as a one-day team.
“We have had a pretty good one-day team over the years. Now it is up to us to deliver a little bit more than that.
“We know when we get to a semi-final it could be anyone’s day and we are just hoping it is ours.”
New Zealand’s progress is all the more remarkable given the blight of injuries they have had to deal with.
Fast bowler Daryl Tuffey (broken hand) became their third casualty of the tournament on the eve of the England contest and was today officially replaced in the 15-man squad by Iain O’Brien.
As well as eliminating Sri Lanka, New Zealand’s triumph in their must-win Group B fixture against fellow semi-finalists England secured an extra day’s rest and another match at the Wanderers, a venue which suits the Black Caps’ seamers.
“We are fortunate enough to have the later semi-final now,” said Vettori. “So that helps us.
“And, to be honest, 99% of the wickets we play on are featherbeds, so it is not a problem once in a while to have wickets which challenge the batsmen. I don’t have a problem with it at all.”
Vettori, meanwhile, was the latest captain to receive plaudits for sportsmanship in this tournament when he reprieved Paul Collingwood following a run out on Tuesday evening.
However, Vettori revealed the influence of Grant Elliott, who was famously bumped out at the Brit Oval last year, and wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum, who enacted the run-out, was crucial.
“It wasn’t the same from everyone but I think Grant and Brendon were probably the two strongest people in saying ‘not out, let’s get on with it’,” revealed Vettori.