2 Jun 2017

Black Caps need to hit the ground running

11:49 am on 2 June 2017

New Zealand will have to hit the ground running if they're to advance beyond pool play, when they begin their Champions Trophy one day tournament against Australia in Birmingham tonight.

Black Cap spinner Jeetan Patel.

Black Cap spinner Jeetan Patel. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The one day competition is divided into two pools of four, with the top two sides in each group advancing to the semi finals.

The Black Caps pool also features hosts and tournament favourites England and Bangladesh.

In warm up matches earlier this week the Black Caps were comprehensively beaten by India but then enjoyed a good win over Sri Lanka at Edgbaston where they play Australia tonight.

The New Zealand coach Mike Hesson says the loss to India was a wake up call while they've also benefited from the local knowledge of Black Caps spinner Jeetan Patel, who plays for county side Warwickshire whose home ground is Edgbaston.

"The loss to India was a timely reminder from a batting point of view that we need to do the hard work first before we perhaps go a little bit harder and that's something you can fall into when there's talk about scores of 330-35 being par so that was a good learning for us."

"The pitch at Edgbaston will be similar to the one they played on in a warmup game, so that has provided us with some experience in those conditions and from a bowling point of view it was good to see what you could get out of the surface."

"Jeetan Patel certainly has plenty of local knowledge and he says they produce the wickets the same way for County cricket and internationals, so he's certainly got some good insights for us."

Just who to thrust into the opening role along with Martin Guptill remains the conundrum for the Black Caps selectors.

Mike Hesson (L) and Tom Latham.

Mike Hesson (L) and Tom Latham. Photo: Photosport

Tom Latham and Luke Ronchi are both chasing the opening batting role and while they have both found some form in warm-up matches, neither has enjoyed success against Australia.

In five innings against Australia Latham's only got to double figures once while Ronchi's highest total is 19 in six innings.