Vettori hopes winning momentum will continue

Vettori hopes winning momentum will continue

Vettori’s only experience of major competitions is semifinal defeats at the Champions Trophy in India in 2006, the World Cup in the West Indies in 2007 and in the World T20 in England earlier this year. It was therefore no surprise to hear the Kiwi skipper hope for a change in fortunes when they meet Pakistan in the Champions Trophy semifinal on Saturday. “We want to go past that, we want to change the script a little bit. Personally, one of the most satisfying things I could achieve in my career is if I lead New Zealand in the final. You never know what can happen after that,” the left-arm spinner said on Friday.

“There is a lot of pressure on us to go past the semifinals, they are higher ranked and have been performing better than us of late, but any team in a semifinal is under pressure.”

New Zealand won their last two games at the Wanderers after defeat in their opening against South Africa to top Group B. “The momentum is with us,” Vettori observed. “We’ve won two big games and qualified on top whereas in the past, we have scraped through. We go into the Pakistan game with confidence.”

That confidence will be somewhat dented by another injury scare, this time to Grant Elliott, who broke his right thumb in the win over England. “He took part in training today, we will leave it till last possible minute before making a decision,” said Vettori, who has already lost three important players in this competition. “It is frustrating but we’re used to it. It has brought the group a little tighter and the realisation that senior players have to step up more.”

Kiwis won the ICC Spirit of Cricket award on Thursday night. “It will be the ultimate if we can couple that with a major tournament. It will mean we are playing the game in the right spirit and winning games as well. There’s a perception that the spirit of cricket goes to teams that are a little bit inconsistent, and that’s probably fair for us at the moment. If we can turn it round and win a major tournament, it’ll be a great achievement.”