DUBLIN: New Zealand captain Tom Latham is still looking for improvement when the Blackcaps aim for a clean sweep of victories in the final match of the one-day international Tri-Series against Bangladesh in Clontarf on Wednesday.
An emphatic 190-run success against hosts Ireland at Malahide on Sunday ensured the Blackcaps will win the trophy but for Latham the important point was that a team missing many leading players was getting better with every game.
“You try to improve each game and we did that today,” said Latham, who led from the front with a century against Ireland as New Zealand continued their build-up to next month’s Champions Trophy tournament in England.
“You talk about each player doing their jobs and playing their role and everybody did that today and that was the most pleasing thing,” said Latham who is filling in as skipper until Kane Williamson returns from the Indian Premier League.
“We want to improve again against Bangladesh and give the selectors plenty to think about going into the Champions Trophy.”
The first two New Zealand players back from the IPL, Matt Henry and Corey Anderson, played on Sunday with Henry the most successful bowler, taking three for 36 as Ireland were dismissed for just 154 in response to the Blackcaps’ 344 for six.
“It was nice to have the experienced guys back from the IPL and playing a part,” added Latham. “That is important moving forward to the Champions Trophy and hopefully they can contribute again in the next match.
“But the players not in the Champions Trophy squad have also competed and that’s the most pleasing thing. They have come in and done well.”
Latham made 104 from 111 balls, with nine fours and four sixes against Ireland.
He received superb support all the way down the order – every batsman who came in reached double figures –- with Ross Taylor scoring his second half century of the series with 57.
But it was Colin Munro who took the game away from Ireland with a sensational 44 from 15 balls featuring three fours and four sixes — one of them a switch hit off Ireland’s fastest bowler, Peter Chase — as the Blackcaps plundered 72 from the last four overs.
“He has done it before and it was great to see him do it today,” said Latham.
“Colin finished the game against Bangladesh with plenty of time to spare and played a different role today.
“As that for that reverse sweep, I don’t know how he plays that.”
Ireland captain William Porterfield was left to lick his side’s wounds. “We were out-skilled and we have to improve on that as players and look for more consistency,” he said.
It doesn’t help Ireland, who could be granted Test status next month, that their next scheduled ODI is not until September when West Indies visit Belfast for a one-off match.