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Mike's blog: Twenty20 about sacrifice

As we expected, Sri Lanka has certainly adapted and improved throughout their tour of New Zealand and at times put us under considerable pressure.

It’s been really pleasing to see us go up a gear and match the intensity that they’ve thrown at us, ultimately in conditions recently that have suited them more than the bounce and pace on offer at Hagley Oval.

The defeat in the third ANZ ODI was on the back of a poor first 10 overs with the ball, but as a coach you’re always interested in the way the guys respond afterwards and I thought we made the necessary adjustments very well.
 
The 36-run victory in the fifth ANZ ODI was a clinical performance at Bay Oval, especially considering a series win was on the line.

The opening Twenty20 had a few clammy hands in the coaches' box, but to come through a pressure situation like that is great experience for some of the younger members of our squad. Three run victories are usually pretty tense encounters.
 
The players know there’s plenty on the line in these ANZ T20s, with a chance for them to seal their spot in the team to go to the ICC World Twenty20 in March.

Spots will be sealed however by making contributions to help win games for New Zealand and these contributions need to be measured in different ways, not using your traditional stats.

In T20s some players get asked to play more unfancied roles like finishing innings where strike rates are often more important than averages and to sacrifice oneself for the good of the team or bowling at especially tough times. These roles are often undervalued but certainly not from within the team.
 
We also have the opportunity to claim a series victory against a side which is ranked number one in the world and had won 19 of their last 21 matches in that format – not to be sneezed at.
 
The whole team has been blown away with the support we’ve had so far this summer. We all love playing in front of big crowds and the atmosphere at the games has been superb.
 
Our next stop is Auckland for two ANZ T20s. Last time we played at Eden Park was the World Cup Semi-Final – admittedly it might be difficult to match the energy going around the stadium that night, but I’m sure it will be an exciting couple of encounters.
 
The upcoming ANZ International Series against Pakistan is another challenge we’re all looking forward to. Hopefully we can continue to build momentum and people continue to come and show their support.
 
Thanks for reading
Mike H.

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