When Brendon McCullum decided to hang his international cricketing boots just months before the ICC World T20, many felt that it was perhaps not timed well.
NZ's Colin Munro en route his 34-ball 67 at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
After all, McCullum had always set an example of leading from the front and ensured New Zealand cricket rose to new heights. It was felt that the Kiwis would miss his services the most at the World T20.
However, if NZ's first warm-up match against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday was any indication, it seems McCullum won't be missed too much.
Colin Munro, who took McCullum's spot, dealt only in sixes as he smacked a 34-ball 67 during which he sent the ball seven times into the stands. Opener Martin Guptill gave New Zealand a rollicking start, smashing a 25-ball 41 before Munro, Corey Anderson (60 off 29 balls retired not out) and a late surge from Grant Elliot (36 not out) helped the Kiwis post 226 for four in 20 overs.
Kiwis pacers shine
The Kiwi pacers backed up the fine batting display with an equally good show with the ball as defending champions Sri Lanka struggled and eventually managed just 152-7, losing by 74 runs.
Munro repeated what he had done to the Lankan bowlers at Eden Park in January, where he recorded the fastest T20I half-century (and second fastest overall) off just 14 balls. The southpaw was especially brutal against Dasun Shanaka, hitting the medium-pacer for four consecutive sixes in the 10th over.
Anderson hit a four off the last ball as 29 runs came off Shanaka's over. Later, Munro used the switch hit to hammer a six off Sachithra Senanayake. Munro eventually fell trying to clear the long-off fielder and instead gave a simple catch to Senanayake thereby ended his 92-run third-wicket partnership with Anderson that came off just 41 balls. Anderson and Elliot then put up a 53-run stand for the fourth wicket.