New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st Twenty20, Auckland December 26, 2010

New Zealand gain from adjusted lengths

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ross Taylor, the New Zealand captain, has credited his bowlers for adapting to the unusual challenge posed by the reinstalled pitch at the Eden Park during the first Twenty20 game against Pakistan that the hosts won by five wickets. The strip had been reoriented ahead of the match, with the new drop-in track running from north to south, making the straight boundaries shorter than normal, forcing the bowlers to rework their lengths.

"Obviously the square [boundary] is a lot bigger, so if we erred, we erred on the shorter side, so that if they wanted to hit sixes, hopefully they hit it over the bigger boundary," Taylor said. "The angles were a bit easier than before, when it used to be a left-hand batsman's ground. It has now probably evened out to be a more equal batsman's ground."

Pakistan's top order cashed in on the unusual dimensions as they got off to a flier, with Shahid Afridi in particular targeting the short boundaries, and a few mis-hits carrying all the way. The introduction of Tim Southee changed the complexion of the game, as he derailed Pakistan with a smart set of variations, earning a five-for, including a hat-trick. He began his handiwork by nailing Ahmed Shehzad with a slower ball and Younis Khan with a short delivery.

"With the ground a bit bigger squarer, you have got more margin for error with the slower ball and bouncers and things like that," Southee said later. "I think that's the way we went at it, as a bowling unit."

Southee's burst restricted Pakistan to an under-par 143 and, despite the loss of wickets from one end, Martin Guptill ensured New Zealand had the momentum to chase it down comfortably. Taylor credited new coach John Wright for Guptill's refreshing approach at the crease. "With John coming into the side, he's started to get you to trust yourself and go out and play instinctively," Taylor said, "and the way Guptill went out there today was definitely that. I am sure he will get a lot of confidence from that."

Another positive sign for New Zealand was the emergence of the 18-year-old seamer Adam Milne who impressed with pace and bounce on his debut, though his figures of 0 for 46 suggested otherwise. "I thought he bowled well," Taylor said. "There were a couple of times where he was a bit unlucky, nicks and inside edges going for fours which ruined his figures a little bit.

"But he's 18 and he showed good pace and control for a youngster, even though he was getting a little bit of tap around the field, he kept a level head and he's got a big future. He would have learnt a lot from the way he bowled today and the next time he comes on to bowl, he will be a better bowler."

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  • Sami on December 27, 2010, 8:26 GMT

    Pakistan really need Mohammed Amir and Asif back, seriously, their bowling attack is worse than Bangladeshs, this target was defendable had their bowlers performed....Umar Gul is a unique star, he shines in 1 out of 10 matches...ICC must unban Amir atleast, in January, or I'm starting a petition.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    I have noticed NZ mostly win because of umpiring errors as in sub continent no umpire was biased so they lost all of 'em, anyway best of luck Pakistan!!

  • Patrick on December 27, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    wow, you guys really need to stop complaining about the umpiring. On the day, Pakistan didnt come to perform at all, so stop bloody complaining you whiners. Even though Umar Akmals departure was wrong, that doesnt mean the umpiring for the whole entire match was. Just admit that Pakistan lost and stop being sore losers. FULL STOP!

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2010, 7:57 GMT

    I didnt watch the match properly but from all accounts, we seem to getting even worse umpiring against NZ as we tend to get against south africa and australia. Easy to believe considering Billy Bowden is the same umpire who asked dhoni if he had caught inzy on a bump ball and dhoni said yes he had and inzy got out. Compare him to aleem dar who is trusted with the ashes and so far, all reviews on his decisions seem to be getting wasted and he didnt lose his cool when ponting did, in melbourne. May he earn more and more respect.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2010, 7:50 GMT

    somebody needs to tell the selectors that fawad alam cannot hit a six to save his life. After that horrid south africa match where he failed to save us by 2 or 3 runs, he should be reserved for tests if he MUST play. Someone should coach his defensive technique and train him to be a rock alongside azhar ali. 3rd & 4th positions for the future... As for asad shafique, he seems like a guy who can play in all formats, so far.

  • Anver on December 27, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    At last...... NZ tasted a VICTORY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Shiv on December 27, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    @smasher, Pak made SA fight hard for their wins unlike India, in UAE flat beds which was critizised by everybody. Everybody knows what happened to pak recently in England in conditions similar to what India is facing rite now. And if you r still comparing India with Pak, u r not watching cricket my friend.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    Pakistan played against South Africa on slow lifeless wickets, unlike the green tops at kingsmead or centurian.So, the current pakistan is no way the indian team.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    Pakistan just got unlucky, All three of the New Zealand Umpires made stupid decisions which could've easily changed the game situation (umar akmal, the stumping).. Cant there be another umpire from another country....??

  • Zeeshan on December 27, 2010, 3:56 GMT

    So whats the selection criteria of picking an umpire for an international game in NZ???? May be has to wear "all blacks" goggles. Yeah Yeah...Pakistan would have lost the game despite Umar Akmal was given not out who is the best T 20 batsman for pakistan. Pakistan would have still lost the game despite Saeed Ajmal was given LBW or caught behind what ever it was but..who knows and who cares as he is no Umar Gul nor Wahab Riaz who can smash 30 runs and yeah Franklin foot was clearly behind the line too or was there enough doubt to give him not out when every one in the commentary box had no doubt. Hopefully in this series we will see NZ breaking more records and winning some games with the help of some local biased umpiring and no UDRS.

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