Cricket-New Zealand 'tracking really well' despite warm-up losses - Stead

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - New Zealand v India - First Test - Basin Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand - February 21, 2020 New Zealand's head coach Gary Stead during the warm up REUTERS/Martin Hunter

(Reuters) - New Zealand coach Gary Stead has brushed off Twenty20 World Cup warm-up losses to Australia and England, believing the Black Caps got just what they wanted out of the games as they prepare for their tournament opener on Oct. 26.

Wednesday's 13-run defeat at the hands of England in Abu Dhabi followed a final-over thriller against Australia on Monday and a six-run victory over the Netherlands last weekend.

"Really, the three games for us have just been about getting everyone some match time," Stead told reporters from Abu Dhabi.

"It's been making sure we've slotted people in in roles they might play, and managing our bowlers as well.

"Three games in five days might not sound much but when you have the heat and humidity that he have here, it's pretty sapping."

Captain Kane Williamson was rested from the England game due to an elbow injury, Stead said.

"Kane's elbow flared up a bit after the (Australia) match so today was more precautionary than anything," he added.

"We just feel if we can get his preparation right and not overhitting and aggravating it in training, that gives him the best chance of being right throughout the tournament.

"I think on the whole, we're tracking really well."

Stead said New Zealand would probably field spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, three seamers, Glenn Phillips as a spin-bowling all-rounder, and another all-rounder able to bowl at pace.

The one exception might be in Sharjah, he added, where conditions are expected to be the trickiest for batting.

The Black Caps open their campaign against Pakistan at Sharjah and will also play a qualifier at the venue in their fourth match of the Super 12.

New Zealand will play their last three group matches in the space of five days and Stead said it was conceivable that Williamson might have to be rested at some point in that period.

"There's always that chance, but we're still pretty hopeful and confident that if we get (his) rest right now, then he should be right to play," he said.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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