Kiwis aiming to finish league on a high note

Mumbai: New Zealand are already assured of a quarter-final berth in the World Cup but their spinner Luke Woodcock says they are not thinking about the knockout stage as they first want to finish the league engagements with a win over Sri Lanka.

"We are just worried about the games we have to get through in our group first and finishing in a good position. We are being quiet on it (planning for the knockout stages) at the moment," said Woodcock who has warmed the bench in the tournament so far.

The Black Caps are scheduled to clash with Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium in a day-night match in their final Group A league match on March 18 and Woodcock said his team`s position in the table would be clearer after that tie.

"Would be interesting going into it though. We`ll see that after Friday. after we`ve met Sri Lanka, And then we`ll see, it will get interesting from there," said the left- arm spinner, who will be 29 on the following day, after training with some underprivileged kids at the stadium.

New Zealand are currently at the top of their pool, having won four out of the five games with the lone defeat coming against three-time defending champions Australia in their second league engagement. They have beaten Kenya, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Canada.

Woodcock, who has played in two ODIs, said though the Black Caps won`t have any added advantage facing tournament co-hosts Sri Lanka away from the latter`s backyard, they won`t mind it either.

"I don`t think we mind. We don`t mind too much really. The draw came out a while ago. We understood where we have to play them. It was nice to have a game here yesterday and get familiar with the conditions," he said.

The rookie said that skipper Daniel Vettori, who missed the match against Canada due to a right knee ligament strain, has recovered a bit from his injury.

"He has some fitness stuff going through in the last 2-3 days. He has got a few more days to go up into the game. He is moving pretty well for our liking."

Woodcock, who narrowly missed the chance to replace Vettori against Canada, said he was biding his time and is trying to be prepared when the opportunity comes.

"Chipping away the best I can. Am working pretty hard, training and away from the ground. I think I was pretty close to getting into the team until it was decided to play an extra seamer. It wasn`t to be the way it was. I got pretty close and will continue to work hard in case my name comes up for selection," he said.

"Obviously would be nice to get out there. Spinners are playing a big part in the tournament. I have to give myself the best chance I can to get myself selected into the team," he added.

Commenting on the training with the kids, he said, "It`s just something that has (been) put here through out the World Cup (by ICC). We don`t get a chance like this everyday."

Middle-order batsman Jamie How said, "To come to Mumbai and meet the locals is something great. We really enjoyed these players. We really enjoyed playing against them. Hamish got bowled as well."

Speedster Hamish Bennet too took part in the charity event.


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