New Zealand v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Napier February 1, 2011

Vettori laments top-order slump


Daniel Vettori lamented an unsatisfactory batting effort as New Zealand lost the fourth ODI by two wickets in Napier. The hosts slumped to 79 for 5 on a McLean Park pitch favourable for batting, as they completed yet another top-order capitulation on a tour that has been fraught with dreadful performances from New Zealand's top five batsmen. A familiar lower middle-order recovery was then launched through half-centuries to James Franklin and Nathan McCullum, and New Zealand posted 262 for 7. The total was not enough to keep Pakistan from going 2-1 up in the series, however, and the visitors chased down the target with an over to spare.

"I think we walked off the park thinking 300 was a par score, so we were short," Vettori said. "We knew we had to scrap pretty hard to give ourselves a chance, which I think we did."

James Franklin made 62 to provide the foundation for New Zealand's innings. Franklin took New Zealand out of immediate danger alongside Brendon McCullum, as the pair put on a valuable 61-run stand, before he raised another 64 runs with Nathan McCullum, who made an unbeaten 53 from 58 balls to provide impetus to the New Zealand innings towards the end. Their efforts were not enough to compensate for a string of soft dismissals at the top of the order, however, as Martin Guptill, Jamie How, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson all got themselves out playing ill-advised strokes.

"Five for 80 at McLean Park is unacceptable because it's a great batting deck. I'm pleased with the way that the two McCullums and James Franklin scrapped to give us a score and give us a little bit of credibility, but 5 for 80 was just not good enough. Some guys got out to balls that you shouldn't really get out to. I know they'll be disappointed with themselves and they'll be looking to rectify it in the next game. "

The New Zealand bowlers performed creditably on the flat surface, giving their side a hope of a win with breakthroughs right through to the penultimate over of the match. But Vettori's gamble of bowling out his strike bowlers in search of wickets backfired when the first three balls 48th over, bowled by Scott Styris, were dispatched for eleven runs, effectively swinging the game in Pakistan's favour. "The bowlers, particularly Hamish Bennett and Scott Styris, stepped up and gave us a chance of winning and in the end we just ran out of resources really. I hoped to win in the 45th or 46th but it wasn't to be. Asking the likes of Scotty to bowl in the death, which is not his normal role, is tough. We were looking good up until that over."

Vettori also praised Misbah-ul-Haq, whose 93 not out provided the backbone for Pakistan's innings for the umpteenth time on the tour. Misbah built steadily alongside Younis Khan during the middle overs, before accelerating towards the end as the asking rate began to climb. His innings in Napier was his highest one-day score. "I don't think [Misbah] has missed out, he's got almost over 50 in every match. He's played well and he's been their rock really, and that's what we require - a guy who can bat through the innings and set it up for the big hitters. He's managed to do that almost every game."

The New Zealand captain was confident his team could bounce back to win the last two games to take the series, but claimed it would take special individual performances to get his side over the line. "There's still an opportunity to win the series with two games coming up. I think the teams are relatively level. It's just that one individual performance wins the game and I think Misbah tonight, the way he battled through early on and then finished it off for them - it was a great innings. We need two of those really to give ourselves a chance in Hamilton and Auckland."

He also hoped to play in the fifth one dayer in Hamilton on Thursday despite picking up a hamstring niggle while bowling. "About my third over I twinged my hamstring so I'll see how I go over the next couple of days. It's important for me to play [the next game] if I can, but the unfortunate thing about three games in five days is that it makes it difficult to recover."

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and blogs here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • J Ranjith on February 4, 2011, 1:20 GMT

    Yes, really like the way they are playing this series well. They are playing like they played in those T20 world cups, doing right things at right moments, like the run-outs this 5th ODI. Their bowling is really good, even without Asif and Amir, it's Amazing. We can pay anyday to watch Pak bowl. And, Misbah is playing the same way he did in 2007. Vow, the world cup is really getting interesting suddenly with many teams in reasonable form, not to mention Pak who could surprise anybody anyday. Watch out England, SA, Aus, SL and Ind: Pak is also in good form. And, Bangladeshis would definitely defeat many countries this time with home venues and spin pitches. It's world cup time!!

  • farooq on February 3, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    @jim 1207: I am really desperate to read ur reply @ zn264 after pakistan comfortably defended 268 . I would defenetly like to say it was bowling who fully supported batting dept. 268 was really chaseble on this wicket byut pak bowl brilliantly.

  • J Ranjith on February 3, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    Let's see how Pakistan defends 268 today.

  • J Ranjith on February 2, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    @zn264: If you can see the replay closely, any professional cricket player could have saved that boundary if he could have fallen on the path, Vettori could not because of his injury. Ok, adding those 7 runs, the target would have been 20 from 2 overs, which means a tailender could not play freely like he did when it was 13 from 2 overs. You had talked about batsmen letting NZ down. Vettori also laments the same! What would he say if their score was 220, he would have said we were probably in short of 40 runs. Now they had 260, and still blames the batsmen! A team can win a game only if they are able to defend a score, not by blaming the batsmen all the time. If they could not defend a score of 265, however flat the ptich was, they are never going to win by their confidence. Vettori's post-match comments would only hurt the confidence of their batsmen. World cup coming up, NZ should not blame batsmen all the time, should try to bowl-out opposition, by saving as much by quality fielding

  • Steven on February 2, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    @Jim1207 The four that went past Vettori would have needed Usan Bolt after it to stop that ball going to the boundry. Yeah he probably could have come off the field...he certainly didn't loose us the game...but did keep us in it until the end. I'm no die hard Dan fan either, was just very impressed with the way he captained the side on the day. You say 7 runs was the difference? Well they had another over to go so they were home anyway, good on him showing some sack and staying on the field.

  • ish on February 2, 2011, 0:13 GMT

    NZ are a good side. Just becuase they have lost a game doesnt mean they are bad, they are simply out of form. Pakistan on the other hand have somehow despite the turmoil and dressing room fights have finally settled and started performing. Amazing...! Nonetheless, its great to see good cricket and alot of cricket fans supporting good cricket. @Markm33 Oz always had someone who stepped up and took the bull by the horns during the 90's, most teams do so its no different whether Misbah, Yonous, Afridi, Akmals or Razzaq does it as long as someone performs. No offence to NZ but i think Pakistan are a more balanced side than NZ, they have match winners from number 1 all the way to number 9, whereas NZ have only have two or possibly three in Taylor, Gupitil, Mcullum, the others are medicore...sorry! Anywayz may the better side win the series whether it be Pakistan or NZ just wanna see good cricket played in good spirit the way these two teams are, well done to both.

  • J Ranjith on February 1, 2011, 23:55 GMT

    @zn264: Sorry to say something against Vettori, which I never thought of doing so far. The match was probably lost because of Vettori's abysmal fielding in the end overs. He just left 1s into twos, even did not attempt to stop a sure boundary and etc., as he was injured. Everyone loves him and does not want to blame him for anything, but the truth has to come out. In a crunch situation, Vettori almost gave Pakistan 7 runs or so because of his fielding, which in last 2 overs might have been very useful to win the game. Bowlers did not bowl well but when they bowled well, Razzaq hit straight to Vettori many times knowing that he wouldn't field well. Vettori finished his spell, got two wickets and was injured. He must have gone out letting a substitute field and save runs for the country. What's more important? Getting a good name of playing with a injury or giving up the job to somebody else to win the game for the Country? This occassion, commentators were correct and NZ lost coz of Dan

  • Ben on February 1, 2011, 23:35 GMT

    So when is Ryder looking at being fit enough to bowl maybe four overs per game? He is capable of containing one end quite well and pick up a few wickets. His death bowling is quite good also. I like keeping Franklin in the team over Oram as He is on very good form right now whereas Oram hasn't been in good form for a few years now... Once Ryder can bowl again the current team that just played (ryder in for How) should be competitive at the world cup.

  • Hamza on February 1, 2011, 22:37 GMT

    I think Pakistan are playing pretty good cricket. If they can work on certain aspects of their game (30 extras are too many, and I think they missed out on 20 runs in their running between wickets) they would be winning these games easily. Plus, they need a better game plan. Playing 20 overs at 3.5/4 runs per over in the middle of the game isn't going to get us far at the World Cup. The players either need to take calculated risks, or we need to see Umar Akmal come before Misbah. Or maybe having Younis as number 3 and Kamran Akmal at 5.

    No offense, but I can't see New Zealand having a good World Cup. They haven't been great at home, apart for the first game. Excellent in the field, pretty good in the middle overs but I don't think they have the firepower.

  • Stark on February 1, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    Misbah may have justified his place but I'm still not 100% certain of his place in the ODI side.

    But Younis isn't and never was ODI material!!!!!

    Why was he picked in the first place?

    You could have given that place to someone like Azhar Ali, N. Yasin or N. Jamshed!

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