New Zealand v Pakistan, World T20 2012, Group D, Pallekele September 23, 2012

Tactical fumbles cost New Zealand

Mishaps in the field and a strangely altered batting order produced a frustrating afternoon for the Kiwis

It was a strange performance from New Zealand. The dropped catches and overthrows were only the start. The batting line-up was all muddled up in the chase, which at 178, was already a stiff one. Kane Williamson might be a potential New Zealand Test great, but he lacks the power that Twenty20 openers usually need. Rob Nicol, the other opener used today, is clearly not in the class of Brendon McCullum or Martin Guptill, whose hamstring injury precipitated the churn in the order.

As if the queer choice of openers wasn't enough, Daniel Vettori, of all batsmen, was promoted as high as No. 4, ahead of Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram and James Franklin. To top it all, Taylor came in as low as No. 6. By then, the Pakistan spinners had developed too much of a stranglehold on the game.

Taylor, though, said New Zealand had given Pakistan too much of a headstart with the bat, and that is where they lost the game. "We wanted a right-hand left-hand combination," Taylor said of the changed batting order. "We talked about Kane opening the batting before this game. It was no surprise to us. I don't think we lost it there.

"We dropped a few catches, leaked too many runs in the first 10 overs. The way we pegged it back was good. We could've been staring at something closer to 200."

Taylor was asked whether the absence of Guptill and McCullum dropping down to No. 3 left the opening combination too short of firepower. He said power was not the only thing required at the top. "It's about weighing up the best way to score runs on different surfaces. It's not just about bashing fours and sixes. It's also about minimising dot balls."

New Zealand were tied down by the Pakistan spinners, with Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez conceding only 75 runs in 12 overs for five wickets, four of them to Ajmal. In contrast, New Zealand, largely McCullum, had belted the Bangladesh spinners for 117 runs in 12 overs on Friday on the same pitch.

"They're world class spin bowlers," Taylor said of the Pakistan trio. "It was a totally different wicket. It didn't quite skid on like it did the other day. It spun a lot more, was a lot drier. They put the ball in the right areas and asked a lot of questions. Any time you're chasing more than 10 runs an over for a period of eight-nine overs, it's going to be a tough ask."

That New Zealand got so close to the target in the end means they are through to the Super Eights, where such slip-ups and tactical errors like today's could cost them dearly.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jordan on September 25, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    I have no doubt that Hesson and Taylor know what they're doing. Wasn't a pretty game but they qualified, which is essentially the ultimate goal from this phase. Best of luck to my supported team against Sri Lanka - they'll need it.

  • dave on September 24, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    Turning points - 1. Taylor's dropped catch 2. Taylor's delayed entry in the batting order 3. Taylor's lack of use of Franklin 1/7 off one over and Oram?? Pakistan are far from unbeatable.

  • syed on September 24, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    A very average performance from New Zeland they still fought hard at the same time Pakistan scored at least 25 to 30 runs short as the Kiwis bowled superbly in the middle overs. wasim Akram is legend no body can deny the talent and the quality of him as a player but as a commentator he must remember that he is on T.V not radio we can see the information there For e.g overs, average, etc he keeps reading the information from the screen instead of commentating or giving his expert veiws

  • Steve on September 24, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    Pakistan played well and deserved to win but come on NZ, who replaces a batsman with a bowler and gives him one over, opens with an accumulator when you are chasing a big score and bats a bowler at No.4 when you need to take control of the match. If NZ want to progress in this tournament, sort your tactics out!

  • Dummy4 on September 24, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    The caption of Vettori's picture is incorrect. He came is at No. 4, not No. 3.

  • Satish on September 24, 2012, 4:22 GMT

    I think the kiwi's should have attacked Hafeez a bit more(easier said than done) and made him to bring in Ajmal a bit early. Everyone knows it is too hot to handle Ajmal especially in the end overs and they should have scored at a good rate against all others and reduced the pressure to score off Ajmal. Right left was a good tactic to use against any kind of opponents. More than tactics, it is in the execution where they lacked.

  • Dummy4 on September 24, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    though Pakistan won the match but I guess they bowl poorly, Umar Gull was once best dead over bowler. he need to figure out his problems and should not leak more than 6 runs in dead overs as he bowled quite well during first 2 t20 WCs

  • Dummy4 on September 24, 2012, 1:50 GMT

    I'm with you guys, I cant for the life of me figure out why you'd stick with oram who was hemorrhaging runs for four overs when Franklin had 3 they could have used, he bowled one over for 7 runs and a wicket, and was key in upsetting india. Sure they may have been treating it as a warm up and trying to give a few players some game time but you still need to try and win. I dont mind williamson at the top of the order aslong as he has the likes of guptil or McCullum there with him, they hit bid and he rotates the strike but theres no point bringing your big guns like taylor and franklin in when the games already gone! And bringing Milne in for your opening batsman doesnt even make sense if they were treating it like a warm up if your only going to bowl him for an over. argh, the black caps are the most frustrating team in world cricket to support hopefully as they unveil there master plan over the next coupla weeks they'll make me look stupid and snatch the trophy!

  • Rupert on September 24, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    With Guptill out injured, BJ Watling is a sound replacement - a consistent performer and fast scorer. Adam Milne was played, and is undoubtedly a future prospect for NZ. However, Taylor's reluctance to bowl him (Milne bowled only 1 over) whilst the Pakistan batsmen plundered the kiwi attack early on goes to show that this was a poor team selection. Surely a better onfield plan would be to utilise the experience of Franklin- the chief destroyer of that one off match against India. The left arm medium pace and variation, working in tandem with Jacob Oram could work better than constant chopping and changing the bowlers all the time.

  • Dummy4 on September 24, 2012, 0:58 GMT

    Match was great but it exposes Pakistan's Achilles heal which is no secret our batting. After a pompous start I would have liked them to go on to 190-200. Also bowling by pacers was really useless they conceded 89 runs in 8 overs. Pakistan has to lift the game especially pacers in order to do good in next round which hopefully they will qualify INshAllah

  • No featured comments at the moment.