Scotland plotting to upset big guns
FORMER New Zealand Test player Grant Bradburn would love nothing better than to bring about the downfall of his old team in Dunedin today.
Now coaching Scotland, Bradburn, who played the last of his seven Tests for the Black Caps in 2001, insisted his side, which is yet to win a World Cup match in two tournaments, would not be just making up the numbers.
"We're here to play well and we'd love nothing more than to play well enough to advance to the next stage," he said. "But our feet are on the ground. This side is not at its peak. I think we're two or three years away from peaking."
Scotland's form in its warm-up matches has certainly pointed to a competitive showing.
It lost to New Zealand by a single run at Lincoln last October, and scored 300 against the West Indies in Sydney last week, coming within a boundary of winning that match.
Bradburn said the team had not talked about targeting victories against fellow Pool A minnows Afghanistan and Bangladesh, instead relishing the chance to take on heavyweights Australia, New Zealand and England.
"We realise our challenge is huge. We've never beaten a top-tier nation but we'd love to be resetting those goals in a few weeks," he said.
Opener and vice-captain Kyle Coetzer is arguably the team's best batsman.
The 30-year-old has made 718 ODI runs from 19 innings at an average of almost 40, with a top score of 133 against Afghanistan in 2013.
After seeing off Sri Lanka by 98 runs in its opening game on Saturday, New Zealand is expected to rest several players ahead of its third game against England on Friday.
Brendon McCullum said that didn't mean the Black Caps would go into the match over-confident.
"We like to play our cards pretty close to our chest with the team, but they are all fit and available," he said.
"We have to make sure we are on our game and treat it as if we were playing one of the bigger teams.
"The associate teams certainly have players capable of standing up and making things uncomfortable for you."
McCullum's spin-bowling brother Nathan is expected to replace Dan Vettori, while Adam Milne and perhaps either Trent Boult or Tim Southee could sit the game out to keep the other two members of the five-strong seam attack, Kyle Mills and Mitchell McClenaghan, in work.
- with APNZ