Ross Taylor - New Zealand’s best is still to come
After a fast start, New Zealand’s World Cup campaign has taken a dent in the last week with back-to-back defeats to Pakistan and Australia.
- New Zealand have lost their last two matches against Pakistan and Australia
- If New Zealand beat England in Durham on Wednesday they will guarantee their spot in the top four
But Ross Taylor is confident that the Black Caps’ best cricket is just around the corner – and victory over England on Wednesday in Durham would be the perfect time to prove it.
The Black Caps were sitting pretty in the standings after going unbeaten through their first six games of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
A top-four finish appeared guaranteed and it would still take a monumental shift in net run rate and defeat to England for them to miss out now.
And while Taylor admits New Zealand have stalled of late, he is desperate to come out firing on Wednesday in Durham to secure their semi-final spot and put the hosts’ own ambitions in real doubt.
“There's still a long way to go in this tournament and hopefully we are not too far away to playing the brand of cricket we know we can play because we definitely haven't played up to our potential so far and hopefully that is not too far away,” he said.
“We definitely haven't got the momentum that we would have liked in the last couple of games, but tomorrow is a different story against different opposition.
“We know we have played England a lot over the last little while and looking forward to hopefully different conditions than the last two matches that we have had to play on.”
The Black Caps bowling attack, spearheaded by Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, have been impressive all tournament.
But the batsmen have yet to fully fire – with the exception of skipper Kane Williamson.
Taylor – who knows Durham well after a spell here as a county overseas – has two half centuries this tournament but no big score while opener Martin Guptill has not passed 50 since their tournament opener.
“I'd love as a team to take a little bit of pressure off Kane and score some runs and not let him do everything,” added Taylor.
“Guppy was leading run scorer in the last World Cup and he had gone into that last World Cup not scoring any runs.
“His confidence is down. Sometimes you need a bit of luck and he certainly needs that. But he's been training very hard and the team are fully backing him.
"I have felt good throughout the whole tournament, a couple of strangles down the leg-side and a couple of good balls, that is the nature of the beast and cricket.
"You know you are not too far away from hopefully getting a few out the middle and getting that confidence up and spending a bit of time in the middle."
And Taylor is hoping that home comforts in the north east bring the best out of him.
“It feels like a long time ago. Durham was about nine years ago,” he added. “I have fond memories, lovely people up here.
"Every time we played England in the last little while it's been a great series, I think it came down to the wire in that series back home and the last time we were here was a must-win, I think it was 2-all, and Jonny Bairstow came in fresh and batted out well. Obviously, another big game coming up tomorrow and hopefully we're up for it.”