Nathan McCullum backs ODI win to `favour` Black Caps against Lankans in Champions Trophy clash

Wellington: New Zealand off-spinner Nathan McCullum has said that he felt that their victorious ODI series against England, which was highlighted by opener Martin Guptill`s 330-run onslaught, will be a key factor in their favour against Sri Lanka in the ICC Champions Trophy .

New Zealand and England will be out to confirm the merits of hard matchplay versus low-key warmup games in the weekend`s Champions Trophy group A openers, after both came off a tough three-match series which the tourists clinched with a game to spare.

Stating that the Champions Trophy is an important tournament for them, McCullum, who debuted against Sri Lanka in 2009, said that his team has got an opportunity to take on the tournament with a good team like Sri Lanka, which, he added has been one of the better sides that they have faced recently.

According to McCullum, New Zealand has been given a much-needed edge by the hard fought competition against England they had recently, adding that the intent and attitude to fight does not always come out in warm-up games, even if they provide the right practice.

McCullum further said that his team has shown great form in the last week and pieced together their game well, adding that they are happy with their preparations and hope to ride on their recent successes in the next two weeks of the eight-nation tournament.

McCullum, who will play his 50th ODI at Cardiff Wales Stadium, which has been re-named for the tournament under ICC regulations, also felt that preparations and recent form, including away series wins against South Africa and England, made New Zealand formidable.

McCullum will likely go in as a frontline spinner but veteran left-armer Daniel Vettori remains in the frame as he has practiced in overcast and humid conditions, although it is yet to be seen how he recovers in the morning on his troublesome Achilles tendon which has sidelined him from internationals.

The winner of the England-Australia and New Zealand- Sri Lanka games will each have one foot in the semifinals, needing only one more win to confirm their spot.