Seth Rance bowling in the World Cup warm-up match in Brisbane on Friday. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Rance aiming for T20 World Cup spot

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Wairarapa fast bowler Seth Rance is pinching himself that he got to bowl to some of the world’s best players in his one and only appearance for the New Zealand XI against a full-strength Australian side.

Rance played the third and final game in the World Cup warm up series in Brisbane on Friday.

The Central Stags kingpin conceded 46 runs in an economical eight overs without picking up a wicket. Many of his deliveries were to former Australian captain Steve Smith, who was in devastating form on his return to the national side after his 12-month suspension for his involvement in the South African ball-tampering controversy, and the hard-hitting Glenn Maxwell.

Smith was 91 not out [108 balls] and Maxwell scored 70 [48 balls] in Australia’s victory by the Duckworth Lewis system when bad light stopped play after 44 overs. New Zealand lost the series 2-1.

Rance said he was happy with his performance against some of the world’s best batsmen.

“I thought I bowled well. I concentrated on bowling to my strengths, my line and length and I was happy with how I went.

“To get to bowl to David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell was a pinch-yourself-moment, it was very special.”

Rance said bowling to Smith, who is known for his unorthodox batting style, required some alteration.

“He likes to creep across the stumps, so I had to adjust my line and make sure I stuck to my skills.

“I also thought I bowled well to Khawaja. I like bowling to left-handers and the ball was swinging a lot. I was happy about the way I went about my work.”

Although he would have liked to play in all three games, Rance said he knew he would only get one game to allow World Cup bowlers Jimmy Neesham and Matt Henry to play all three games.

He said there were some encouraging signs from the team.

“As a team, we played really well and we pushed their full-strength team right to the last few overs, so that looks good for the World Cup.”

Rance also had special praise for two of his Stags team-mates, Will Young, who scored two centuries [130no and 111] in the final two matches, and Doug Bracewell, who claimed 3-45 in the second match.

“Will and Doug are class players and are probably unlucky not to make the World Cup. Will’s two centuries were brilliant, and Doug was all over the batsmen.”

Rance said playing in the warm-up game was a nice way to finish the season.

“I’m very happy with my season. It started with the T20 internationals in Dubai, and although I got only one game, I played well. To finish with this game was very special.”

Maybe the highlight of the 31-year old’s season was his Central Stags team winning the Super Smash T20 championship and the Plunket Shield for first class cricket.

“They are a very special bunch of guys. It’s hard to explain, but the culture and camaraderie is second-to-none.”

Rance is not giving up on his international dream.

“My next goal is to make the T20 World Cup in Australia [in 2020]. I have been told by the selectors I’m still in their plans, so I’m working hard to make that team.”

In the meantime, Rance, a builder, and the Greytown fire brigade station officer, will take a well-earned break away from cricket for a few weeks before the pre-season starts in July.

“I will be working for myself doing some building and I’ve got plenty of work on.

“I’ll also be having some family time and will be back into the cricket full-on from September 1.”

Rance will also change codes and turn out for his beloved Douglas Villa Skulls in the local league Division One football.