Vettori ’surprised’ at ‘used’ pitch for semifinal

March 28th, 2011 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, March 28 (IANS) New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said he is “surprised” that their World Cup semifinal against Sri Lanka will be played on a “used” wicket and not on a fresh one.

The surface on which Sri Lanka beat England in the quarterfinal will be used for the first semifinal match at the R. Premadasa stadium here Tuesday.

“They’ve told us that we’re playing on the pitch on which Sri Lanka played England. Playing a World Cup semifinal on a used wicket is very surprising. We thought it was mandatory to prepare a fresh wicket, but obviously not,” said Vettori on the match eve.

Sri Lanka thrashed England by 10 wickets in the quarterfinal after bowling them out for 229.

Asked whether he expects Sri Lanka to go with three spinners, Vettori said: “We’re playing on the same wicket, so I assume they’ll go in with the same team.”

Vettori said they will do their best to become the first New Zealand team to reach the World Cup final.

“I look at the positives of making the semifinals. Everyone wants to talk about our record of making the last four stage and not going any further, but I think it’s an amazing achievement for a small country.

“In the 2009 Champions Trophy, we went one step further and made the final against Australia. So we can look at that and hope it’s a starting point for us go beyond the semis here.”

Vettori said they will have to put their sensational quarterfinal victory over favourites South Africa behind them.

“It was obviously a tremendous result, but Sri Lanka are a completely different proposition. We need a different and a better game plan if we have to succeed. It is going to be a lot harder because Sri Lanka are playing at home,” he said.

Vettori, however, said the players need to maintain their consistency.

“There’s a positive mindset in the squad. But, if you look at our performances, every victory of ours was followed by a poor performance. The team realises that it can’t afford to be up and down at the knockout stage. We’ve had a good performance, so we’ve got to make sure another one is also in the bag,” he said.

Asked whether not being the favourites helps them, Vettori said: “Well, I think it allows us to play a little bit under the radar. Probably, it suits us well because we’re used to it. But, we have high expectations of ourselves so it’s really irrelevant what others think of us.”

He said their loss against Sri Lanka in the 2007 World Cup semifinal will not play on their minds when they take the field Tuesday.

“Maybe five or six of us were involved in that match so there’s a high turnover of players and it’s probably the same with the Sri Lankan team.”

The Black Caps had a poor run before the tournament, but the turnaround has been amazing.

Asked about coach John Wright’s contribution to their success, Vettori said: “Look, John’s been fantastic for us, but the players took the blame for those losses so I think the players have to take credit for the victories as well.”

“It’s been a combination of the two. I’ve loved working with Wrighty and he’s brought a lot of passion to the team. His knowledge of people over here and grounds has been a tremendous help as well.”

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