New Zealand v Pakistan, 6th ODI, Auckland February 5, 2011

Taylor wants World Cup momentum

Andrew Fernando at Eden Park
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Stand-in captain Ross Taylor expressed satisfaction at having won the final ODI in Auckland, to end 3-2 after Pakistan wrapped the series up in Hamilton. New Zealand made ample use of the small Eden Park boundaries and a terrific batting pitch to make 310, before bowling Pakistan out for 254 in the 45th over. The host's top order finally fired after disappointing showings in the three previous matches and Pakistan never quite recovered from three early strikes to launch a meaningful challenge on New Zealand's total.

"It's been a tough six months, but to finish on that note was very satisfying," Taylor said. "Hopefully we can take some momentum into the World Cup and get a couple of victories in the warm up games."

The New Zealand players endured a gruelling team meeting following their loss to Pakistan in Hamilton on Thursday. Team management and support staff had apparently not been present at the meeting and the players had talked openly about the team's recent failures and the need to turn it around before the World Cup for an hour and a half in the Seddon Park dressing room.

"We're not going to talk about what we said in the meeting," Taylor said. "We wanted to improve our performance on the field and a few different things off it and the team went a long way to achieving how we want to play. 300 is normally just the par in New Zealand, so to get 310 today was very satisfying."

New Zealand hadn't been totally outclassed during the series, having lost three matches by a reasonably narrow margin, but the team had lacked a standout individual performance - which Jesse Ryder provided in the sixth ODI with a 93 ball 107. "We were very close in the other matches. We just didn't step up and players got out at crucial times. In the two matches we won, players did step up - so it shows that when we do that we're a competitive side."

Brendon McCullum returned to his familiar opening role, having spent most of the series lower down the order, in order to take advantage of the batting Powerplay. The experiment had not worked for New Zealand however, as McCullum made just 58 runs in three innings, proving ineffective as a lower order pinch hitter. Ryder had moved to number three to make room for McCullum's return to the top, and Taylor claimed the top three could remain unchanged going into the World Cup.

"Brendon's always going to be opening now with Jesse doing so well. We had a meeting last night and thought of having Brendon up there. We also wanting keep Martin as an opener so it was either Brendon or Jesse batting at three."

Ryder also expressed a desire to stay put in the batting order, following his century. "Going forward to the World Cup I don't really want to change now, so we'll see what happens when we get over there," said Ryder. "There's been a lot of change over the last six games and wherever I'm put it's my job to play as well as I can for the team. Leading up to the World Cup I guess it will be Baz and Guppy opening."

Scott Styris and Nathan McCullum also pitched in during the end overs with two blistering half-centuries. The pair added 120 from 84 balls and plundered 71 runs from the batting Powerplay to propel New Zealand beyond the 300. "Scotty and Nathan took their time early on but it shows you they can catch up later on," Taylor said. "We need someone to step up in those crucial death overs [in the World Cup] and with the ball reversing in the subcontinent, it won't be an easy time."

Taylor was also impressed with the way his bowlers handled the final overs of the match, as Shahid Afridi attempted to blast his side home, and claimed that it's a crucial aspect of their game heading into the World Cup. "It's an area we haven't performed as well as we would have liked. The bowling up front has been quite consistent over the last 6-12 months but the death bowling we haven't quite mastered. With the rough wickets in the subcontinent, reverse swing is an area we need to get better at. But the way Tim Southee and Hamish Bennett bowled was outstanding. In the other games we became a little bit predictable, but today we just tried to change it up."

Ryder was also pleased to end his bad run with the bat. Ryder had failed to score several times during the tour, making three noughts in a row during the Tests, and being run out before facing a delivery in the last match at Seddon Park. His manic knock laid the foundation for New Zealand's innings as he exploited Eden Park's short boundaries to hit seven fours and six sixes.

"It has been a frustrating series for me with all those ducks under my belt. Today batting at three, I just wanted to go out there and express myself and I just backed my ability. I was feeling good after that first game in Wellington, and to score a hundred today just topped it off before the World Cup."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on February 7, 2011, 23:26 GMT

    good nz team on paper. But winning is a habit and unfortunately so is losing. We've done more of the later lately but there is always hope. Good Luck NZ.

  • psu19976 on February 7, 2011, 22:51 GMT

    Pak should alternate the batting between big hitters and consolidators and adjust the batting line up accordingly. U Akmal clearly cannot handle the pressure in the run chase lower down the order. If Pak go by bi hitter followed by consolidate followed by big hitter is too risky and put extra pressure on the late big hitters. If big hitters flop at the end, Pak impossible to chase or put big score on board. A specialist batsman should stay with the tail to the end. Ditch Tanvir bring Ajmal or Rehman instead. So I think sending alternate consolidate and big hitter is a good idea without putting undue pressure on coming batsmen at the same time shows fliexibility.

  • Kiwisupporter on February 6, 2011, 0:55 GMT

    Everyone seems to be writing NZ off in terms of the WC - I'm not going to say we'll win it, but as you know, cricket's a funny game and if NZ gets a bit of momentum going during the warm p games and pool matches anything can happen. If you look at our team we have great talent and bat right down to 10, and our bowlers on their day might be difficult to play on subcontinent pitches given their general lack of pace. We have a habit of stepping up to the occasion at WCs so don't be surprised if we upset a few of the more fancied teams.

  • dummy4fb on February 5, 2011, 17:22 GMT

    @ stark 62, I totally agree wid u, kiwis are very dangerous in their backyard!.

  • Cpt.Meanster on February 5, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    New Zealand played well alright ! but I still consider them a weak side in this world cup. In fact they are one of the teams with no chance at the trophy. Pakistan on the other hand let themselves down big time with complacency and carelessness. This shows the inconsistent nature of their players. Now they have lost some momentum going to the sub-continent. Afridi's captaincy still has a lot of unanswered questions. Sohail Tanvir's place in the side is questionable. This match is a clear indication of what is to be expected in the world cup. Pitches will be similar; flat and true paced. Good batsmen will feast on the bowlers and then things will get a bit challenging in the 2nd innings under lights. If there is dew then the spinners will be negated. A mouth watering tournament in prospect. Pakistan need to be 'serious' even about dead rubbers.

  • Stark62 on February 5, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    I think people tend to forget that BD and Ind white washed NZ in their backyard not on their home soil.

    I don't think BD would ever be able to white wash or even win a series against NZ on their home soil.

    NZ are bad against spin whilst, BD are bad against the swinging ball.

  • AKmAK on February 5, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    @MatthewJones -what a dream!! you can keep it that till WC begins. Undoubtedly this time a sub-continent team (IND, SL or PAK) will lift WC, even SA a real contender though. ENG are below par performer in sub-continent, AUS will definitely do well than ENG but don't have the calliber to push things up. I don't have any reason that NZ will lift their game around any soon. Get rid off Ross Tylor he is a dump in middle order, he can play better cricket with his tounge than willow. He averages around 35 in ODi format, a below average modern cricketer has better stats than this. I doubt what the heck he calls as a talented batesman..Pathetic!!!!!

  • dummy4fb on February 5, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    never write off NZ - you do so at your own peril - last champions trophy final they met Australia in final, and have made semis in world cup four times

  • Happy_AusBang on February 5, 2011, 11:18 GMT

    I agree with AndyZaltzmannsHair. It is hard to understand why Afridi was persisting for so long with Tanvir eventually letting him bowl the maximum 10 overs when he was clearly out of sorts; and that too at the expense of six overs from his two best bowlers on the day in Shoiab and Razzak who were going for 5.42 and a very miserly 3.28 respectively. I don't know whether he lost count but this is not the first time he did this. I hope he will learn quickly about this facet of the game.

  • Raaakz on February 5, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    My team for the world cup 1. Guptill 2. B. McCullum 3. Ryder 4. Taylor 5. Styris 6. Franklin 7. Oram 8. Vettori 9. N.McCullum 10. Mills 11. Southee/Bennet... res - How, Woodcock, Williamson

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