Latham backs young guns to star in Tri-Series

Tom Latham (AFP)
Tom Latham (AFP)

Dublin - New Zealand captain Tom Latham believes his emerging players can help the Blackcaps take the Tri-Series in Dublin after they made a winning start against Ireland.

The 51-run victory at Malahide was sealed by a career best five for 50 from left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner and 79 from Neil Broom, but there were also three wickets for opening bowler Scott Kuggeleijn on his one-day international debut on Sunday.

"These guys called in have been putting in performances back home for the last couple of years and we back them 100 percent," said Latham.

"Our main goal is to win the Tri-Series and make the selectors think and if they can keep putting performances on the board it can only be good for New Zealand cricket," he added.

"Neil Broom played really well and the partnership he built with George Worker (who scored his maiden fifty in only his third ODI) put us in a position to get us close to 300.

"We haven't played cricket for a while, and it wasn't the complete performance, but the guys came under pressure and played really well," explained Latham, whose side next face Bangladesh in Clontarf, another Dublin suburb, on Wednesday.

With seven New Zealand internationals taking part in the Indian Premier League, rather than on tour in Ireland ahead of next month's Champions Trophy one-day tournament in England, Latham was delighted at how his youthful side performed under pressure.

Ireland were actually ahead of the Blackcaps after 38 overs, needing only another 80 from the last 12 overs with five wickets left to reach their victory target of 290 and claim their first top eight scalp outside a global tournament.

But the next over saw the return of Santner and in it he claimed the wicket of debutant Simi Singh to spark an Ireland collapse which included the vital wicket of Niall O'Brien, stumped by Luke Ronchi for 109, the former Leicestershire wicket-keeper's first ODI century in his 85th match.

"Ireland played beautifully and Niall's innings put us under pressure but the way Mitch came back and how Kuggeleijn bowled so aggressively, that we are used to back home, it was a good response," said Latham, who was captaining New Zealand for the first time, in place of Kane Williamson who is still at the IPL.

"I enjoyed the captaincy and the win is good for the confidence although I have a couple of experienced guys to lean on and bounce ideas off.

"We played Bangladesh not so long ago, we know how strong they can be and we'll see what conditions are like. It'll be interesting to see what the wicket is like and we'll adapt our plans accordingly."

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