Dunedin, Feb 17: New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum Tuesday said his team were nervous during their narrow three-wicket win against Scotland in a Pool A cricket World Cup match.
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New Zealand bowled out Scotland for a paltry 142 runs in 36.2 overs but made heavy weather of the small run chase, losing seven wickets but ultimately reached the target with 151 balls to spare.
The tournament co-hosts, among the top contenders to win the Cup, were cruising at 106 for three in the 18th over before suffering a shocking batting collapse to get reduced to 137 for seven in the 24th over.
But they ultimately managed to get over the finish line which brought a huge sigh of relief to the New Zealand camp.
"Pleased with the result, but we definitely showed nerves towards the end," said McCullum at the post match presentation ceremony.
New Zealand batsmen made quick starts but all were guilty of being over aggressive and threw their wickets away, a fact highlighted by McCullum's knock of 15 runs in the game.
"Credit to them for posting a good total that was tricky on this kind of surface, he said.
The 33-year-old praised his fast bowlers for dismissing Scotland cheaply but also said they needed to improve their batting.
"They are world-class bowlers (Trent Boult, Tim Southee), and they have stood up for a long time in Test cricket for us. It is outstanding when you are able to win the toss, choose to bowl, and then be backed up," he said.
"Really good performance with the ball and in the field, but we need to improve on our batting. It should be a great challenge when we play the next one as the surfaces and conditions will also change."
McCullum though exuded confidence ahead of the coming matches in the tournament. New Zealand have won both their pool matches that they have played so far. They beat Sri Lanka Saturday.
"We are going to have to play incredibly well. This is certainly the strongest side I have ever played in," he added.