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We probably got out of jail: Brendon McCullum

Nathan McCullum says he and Brendon aimed to bat together for more than ten overs to take New Zealand over the line

We probably got out of jail: Brendon McCullum - Cricket News
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum during an ODI.
Brendon, did you get out of jail there? 
Yeah, kind of. It's hard to know. Sort of expect to chase 138 every day of the week, and then you see the ball sort of turning, stopping, keeping low and swinging, and you know that you've got Malinga and hereafter to hit some balls and stuff like that. And you know that 130 odd is a lot bigger total than what it suggests. But, yeah, we probably still got out of jail.

On the flip side, a lot of composure shown there in the end under pretty trying circumstances?
Yeah, there was composure, and a lack of composure at times as well. I guess they're not recognized batsmen, some of the guys who played some hands today, but they are experienced players who have a good ability with the bat as well and who are reasonably calm in pressure situations. And I thought we saw today Nathan was obviously brilliant how he struck the ball as well as anyone else did on that surface, and obviously Tim as well showing some nice composure there towards the end.

Can we get your second most anxious moment other than the final over?  
​Second most? 

Where did you feel most nervous out there with that chase? 
I think once you get out, that's when you start to get a little bit twitchy. I think while you're out there you can actually help them in a situation when you know it's not too bad. But you get back in the change room and you're sort of watching things unfold.  So I think once Nathan got out that was probably when things got a little bit nervy. But obviously once that run out happened as well, that was probably one of those nervous moments. Once we got down to the last few runs, it wasn't too bad because I knew that Tim had faced a lot of balls against Malinga, and he was one of those guys that once you face him for a period it becomes a touch easier.  So I think he got a little bit more composed towards the end. 

With such a short truncated tournament, only just one wicket in it, but how important is that, and how tough would it have been on the flip side if it had gone down?
Yeah, pretty valuable, and I mentioned out on the field afterwards actually that I think it would have been quite a tough one to come back from if we hadn't gotten across the line. That's hugely important. And whilst it wasn't as clinical as we'd like with that in hand, we still managed to fall across the line, I guess, and the points were incredibly valuable especially against a team as dangerous as Sri Lanka in these conditions where they won the toss. They obviously knew the pitch was going to dry out a touch as well and the new ball was going to come into effect. So when you put all of that stuff into the mix and get the ball across the line like we did, it's very, very valuable for us and very important in this tournament.

Dan Vettori his sort of comeback and your thoughts on how he looked a bit ginger in the field at times?
Yeah, I thought it was pretty good today, actually. And his wicket of Jayawardene was a huge wicket for us. There were some really good prep and planning from us as well. It was a huge moment in the game where we were able to dismiss one of the most experienced players through a guy as good as what Dan is with the ball sliding through him. 

So I thought he was valuable from that point of view, but also in the other overs he asked a lot of questions and certainly played a valuable role for us.  I think he'll be okay for the next few games. He's certainly no spring chicken in the field, but a couple of us aren't quite what we used to be on the field as well. 

I'm sure you practiced facing slow yorkers.  It's been quite routine to bowlers to do that.  But how do you face a slow yorker bowler with that kind of action? 
You sort of prepare for the dead ball and we've had some yorkers with slow balls and slow ball bouncers, et cetera.  But Lasith is a completely different propositional all together. Yeah, I thought he bowled brilliantly today, and it was probably unlucky not to come out on the right side of the result. But it's hard to, I guess, prepare for that sort of bowling, because once he skips as well as what he does, he's probably the best in the world at it. So we're just thankful that even as good as he was today, we still managed to get the win. 

Nathan, in the short run chase, you seemed to take the approach of being positive out there.  Is it your mindset that you're trying to get there, basically?
Yeah, I guess so. I thought, obviously, it wasn't a massive pose. It was just a matter of us trying to get a partnership together and trying to be as confident as I could and help Brendon it out by scoring some runs as well and not just leaving it up to him. So it was good to put a partnership on together, and unfortunately we weren't able to finish it off between the two of us, which would have been nice and a lot more relieving for everyone else. But we got across the line in the end, so that's the most important thing.

Nathan, can you take us through some of your mid‑wicket conversations perhaps, because arguably it was the most important partnership during the game? 
​Yeah, there is a little bit going on, but we're actually quite composed, really. It was just a matter of us just trying to bat and there was a lot of right‑left, just keep going, keep working as much as we can together and keep chipping away. Really, that's about it.  Because we knew if we batted 10 or 15 overs, we could have killed the game off. I think we might have batted 10 or so overs together and probably not that extra 5 we would have needed to finish the game off.

Brendon, you'll likely face Australia on Wednesday; what did you make of their performance the other day, and what is your confidence like after this?
Yeah, I think we'll start thinking about it and then sort of really turn our attention to Australia. But we know that they're a very good team, and while they may not have been playing as well as what they are capable of, we know they're still a dangerous proposition, and we've got to make sure we get a firm read on what the pitch is going to be like as well, and make sure we're well planned and well prepared for that. 

Hopefully we can tidy up a couple of those loose series that we showed today with the bat, and the outstanding bowling and fielding which we showed as well, and if we do that, we give ourselves a live chance against Australia. 

How would you rate that in English?  Perhaps not as razzle dazzle as usual, but would you rate it quite highly in terms of One Day Cricket?

My innings?

Yeah, it was an interesting one. I think when you first come out and bat you've sort of got the pace of it quickly, and then once we lost a couple wickets, we almost tried to assess the situation and know that if we can take it as deep as possible, then we'll give ourselves a bit of opportunity. Sort of the way Nathan came out and then hit the ball and took all the pressure off me. Then I could just pretty much keep out the bowl as much as possible and just take it over.  Knowing if he got out, we were still going to have an established batsmen at the crease, and that's sort of some of the (Indiscernible) how it rated. Any time he went in, he made some sort of contribution.  It's nice, but certainly not one of my best moments, but I'll take it in a winning course. 
Just getting to Danny here.  Is it keen to perhaps rest on Wednesday and keep him fresh for England or are you confident he's going to play that game? 
Again, it's a bit early. So we want to keep using Danny as we go through. He's valuable to us as well. And knowing that the wicket, when we get back here is likely to be similar to what we had today, and our assessment of the wicket that we'll play at Edgbaston is very important.  If it isn't going to have the same, I guess, grip or stop or tune as what we're seeing here, then we've got to merry up the risk of playing Dan, knowing he's still got some valuable men on the squad that can fill that void.

But we'll have to wait and see. There is all that stuff to talk about and speak to Dan about it as well and see how he's pulled out from the past as well.

Quickly on the batting, obviously you made three pretty solid performances against England, but do you write this off as a one‑off or are there still some issues in the batting order? 
I don't think there are some issues in the batting order. I think we've got a good mix of stroke makers, and I guess a bit of craft players.  And they're not always going to come off, but I think we're starting to get some familiarity about our batting as well in this form of the game.              

I think today's wicket was an incredibly difficult wicket to bat on, but you've got to put that in the mix as well and sort of say that guys weren't maybe as fluid as they would have liked or made as significant course as they would have liked because of the score.  You can flip it over to the other side and say that's why we did such a good job with the ball.              

​When you made the assessment in the game that 170, 180 was going to be incredibly tough to chase, and the guys were brilliant out there I thought. And that was probably the winning of the game is guys kept attacking and taking wickets and it made it easy for our batting lineup to be able to get the ball across the line.

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