ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Group A, World Cup 2011, Mumbai

Taylor identifies loss of wickets as downfall

Nagraj Gollapudi at the Wankhede Stadium

March 18, 2011

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

New Zealand may wonder how far they have progressed after the seven-wicket defeat against Australia three weeks ago. Then, as now, their batsmen failed to build partnerships. Then, as now, New Zealand collapsed without putting up a fight. The only difference: back then they were tried by pace, while today the noose was tightened by the spinners. Just replace Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait and Brett Lee with Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Lasith Malinga.

So have New Zealand become such an easy picking? Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain, was confident that New Zealand never liked the variety in his bowling attack. And it was not a recent allergy they had developed. "We kind of understand that they find the variation in our bowling attack a bit troublesome," Sangakkara said after the 112-run victory. "They find Mendis, Malinga and Murali quite difficult, so we try to maximise on that particular fact."

The only time New Zealand's batsmen showed some promise was when Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor were steadily beginning to rebuild the innings after the early loss of the openers. Ryder was timing the ball well, while Taylor showed the same spirit visible during his match-winning century against Pakistan. But it was not an easy pitch - it was taking sufficient turn, and coupled with a good bounce, it was a shot in the arm for the spinners. Also the dew made the ball skid. Patience was New Zealand's life vest. Sadly their batsmen left too many loose ends and lost their way pretty quickly.

After the demoralising loss to Australia, John Wright, the New Zealand coach, had imposed a condition that it was mandatory the top order lasted for at least 35 overs. The other rider was that not more than three wickets could be lost. On Friday, the New Zealand innings folded in exactly 35 overs. "We just did not get there," Taylor, New Zealand's stand-in captain for the game, said. "We put plans in place to try to achieve them and today we did not do it."

Jesse Ryder edges behind to Kumar Sangakkara, New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Group A, World Cup 2011, Mumbai, March 18, 2011
Jesse Ryder timed the ball well before he edged one from Ajantha Mendis © Getty Images

It would be harsh to single out Taylor because he was only filling in for the injured Daniel Vettori, who has been sidelined by a knee injury. Also, the absence of Kyle Mills, a frontline bowler, has not helped matters. New Zealand's problems were aggravated when Hamish Bennett, Mill's replacement, was forced to leave the field midway into his fifth over after he picked up a calf strain.

Taylor felt that Bennett's absence in the crucial middle overs allowed Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene to establish themselves and lay a good foundation. "In losing Hamish Bennett, we lost a little bit of firepower during the middle stages. But the way we came back to restrict them to 260 with a bowler down was not too bad. But we just kept losing wickets. At the end we were up with the rate but when you keep losing wicket 260 becomes a big target."

The loss will not hurt New Zealand's cause much as they have already booked a quarter-finals' berth. Even if it is not yet clear who their opponent will be, Taylor felt that it was important for the players to regroup fast and start from a new page. "The confidence would have taken a dent. But we have played some good cricket over the last little while. We have got to think positively. In the next couple of days we will know who our opponents are and then plan accordingly. The break allows us to recover from the injury toll."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 13 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 19, 2011, 9:31 GMT)

'Taylor identifies loss of wickets as downfall'

Great headline cricinfo. Very astute Ross.

Sorry, I'm just bitter after staying up late to watch that lame effort. Tiresome slack caps.

Posted by nalin on (March 19, 2011, 9:07 GMT)

Problem with NZ batting is that they can struggle against QUALITY but NOT VARIETY in bowling. Their top order was soft against Aussie pace and the middle order struggled against Quality spin of Sri Lanka. They struggled against Pakistan until Pakistan bowling fell apart.Playing against India gives them tremendous hope as there is little quality in their bowling or fielding.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 19, 2011, 9:00 GMT)

New Zealand is the only team packed with genuin allrounders as the calibour of Scot stries - Jacob Oram - James Frankleen - Nathen Macullam -Jessy Rider even Danel Vettori for that matter so by names 6 our of 11will be all rounders thus they are yet to perform as a unit thats the down fall for their poor show - but without a dought the only team with most allround ability

Posted by Garry on (March 19, 2011, 8:48 GMT)

We always have and probably always will struggle against very good spinners and very good express bowlers, unfortunately the reason being that we have neither in our domestic leagues.

The thing is if one of McCullum, Taylor or Ryder clicks on a day then we can beat any team and its only a matter of time that all 3 click in one game.... still confident.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 19, 2011, 8:39 GMT)

NZ just copy Australia both do not have quality spinners. Their captain does not flight if you bowl quick the ball will not dip and deceive the batter in flight. Murali is an ideal spinner Mendis should flight like Murali and Herath

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 19, 2011, 7:41 GMT)

The way Srilankans are going.....i have no doubt in saying that they have a strong chance of winning the cup. they have a very balanced side, comprising of matchwinners in all departments of the game.

Posted by Dru on (March 19, 2011, 7:22 GMT)

I think NZ have to put everything in the past behind them and look at the qtr final as an all or nothing game which I guess is stating the obvious. They have the players in all departments and x-factor men in the side with both McCallum and Taylor capable of winning a game on their own. The best left armer in Vittori, steady seamer in Southee, alrounders in Oram and Styrus there is plenty to play with but just need to click as a team for one game for a WC semi final spot. I reckon they are just about to cause the biggest upset of the WC when they win their quarter final.

Posted by Lalith on (March 19, 2011, 6:00 GMT)

This has been identified by your management after every loss. I think the major problem was not much expose to the different varieties of SL bowlers.

Posted by Lalith on (March 19, 2011, 1:31 GMT)

It is the SL spinners who makes the difference.

Posted by Avery on (March 18, 2011, 23:39 GMT)

New Zealand will be playing India. You'd have to give India the edge given the home ground advantage, but it should be a good match.

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