Hobbling New Zealand backed ‘to do job’ against Pakistan
New Zealand have been hit by setbacks throughout the tournament and after winning their first four games have since lost three in succession.
On Friday, fast bowler Matt Henry was ruled out with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Kyle Jamieson.
Regular captain Kane Williamson (thumb), all-rounder Mark Chapman (calf), fast bowler Lockie Ferguson (Achilles) and all-rounder James Neesham (wrist) are also on the injury list.
That left New Zealand with just 11 fit players before their last game against South Africa which they lost by 190 runs.
“A number of guys have got to get through fitness tests and pass them and we probably won’t know till tonight and tomorrow morning how they pull up,” said Mitchell.
“We back everyone within our squad to have success and do a job for the team.
“We’re all pretty clear on the roles that we’re going to play if given the opportunities and yeah, we’ll just go out there get stuck in as Kiwis do and hope we come around the right side.”
India have already wrapped up one of the semi-final places and South Africa are virtually assured of also making the last four.
That has left Australia and New Zealand both on eight points but under pressure from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the race for the final two spots.
“Look, for us, every game in this tournament is vitally important,” said Mitchell, who has 346 runs in six innings.
“They’re all worth two points. And for us, again, it’s just showing up and playing the Black Caps style of cricket.”
Mitchell described Pakistan as a strong team, having played eight one-day internationals against them this year.
“They’re world-class and have been for a long time,” said Mitchell of Pakistan who beat New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup.
That time, however, New Zealand sneaked through to the semi-finals, edging out Pakistan with a better net run-rate.
“We’ve played a lot of cricket against Pakistan, which is awesome for us. We loved touring Pakistan a few months ago and to be able to take them on here now in the World Cup’s cool,” said Mitchell.
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