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

'We may have got lazy' - Waqar

Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, has said his side may have found it hard to motivate themselves for the sixth ODI against New Zealand, having already won the series. Pakistan lost Saturday's match in Auckland by 57 runs, but the series ended 3-2 in their favour.

"We tried our best today [Saturday], but it didn't really happen," Waqar said. "When you win the series, it's hard to be motivated sometimes. Maybe you get a little lazy at times, but overall I'm happy with the way the boys played today."

Pakistan had won the toss and put New Zealand in to bat, hoping the Eden Park surface would offer something for the fast bowlers, but the pitch proved to be an absolute belter, as batsmen on both sides hit through the line without fear and to great effect; and Waqar admitted they had misread the conditions. "I think we were expecting the ball to move a little bit more. But here in Auckland it's a very deceptive pitch. Even when we used to play here a few years ago, it looks damp but it does nothing."

New Zealand's batsmen dominated the Pakistan attack on Saturday. Jesse Ryder made 107 from 93 balls, before Scott Styris and Nathan McCullum galloped to half-centuries towards the end of the innings to lift New Zealand's total to 310. Pakistan lost three wickets inside twelve overs in their run chase and Waqar said it was the regular loss of wickets that left them unable to threaten New Zealand's total.

"We gave it a good run, but every time we got momentum we lost a wicket at the wrong time. They played better than us when we were bowling, so they deserved to win."

Pakistan cricket has had a controversy-ridden last 12 months, but Waqar said the latest news that Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were facing charges from the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK did not have any effect on Pakistan's performance on the field in the final ODI, as the team were largely unaware of the charges. "I knew it because I read it in the paper, but I don't think anybody else knew it. I don't think the boys had any talk about it. It didn't really bother us."

Pakistan's loss at Eden Park followed a series-deciding victory in Hamilton, which gave Pakistan their first one-day series win since 2008. They had ended a four-year Test series drought, with a 1-0 win over New Zealand earlier in the tour, and Waqar said the results were encouraging ahead of the World Cup. "It's been a while since Pakistan won anything. The most satisfying thing is the fitness is pretty good. The guys look good in the field, which has never happened before. They're all geared up and hopefully the same momentum goes into the World Cup.

"With the amount of controversy in the last 8 to 9 months, we needed something like this. We needed to develop our team again, and the only way we could do it is if we started playing well."

Misbah-ul-Haq and Wahab Riaz were rested for the final ODI, giving Sohail Tanvir and Asad Shafiq some valuable match practice before the World Cup. Tanvir was expensive, leaking 78 runs in eight overs, but Shafiq impressed during his stay, rebuilding smartly alongside Kamran Akmal after Pakistan had lost three early wickets. Waqar said Pakistan hadn't yet finalised their XI for the World Cup. "We've given most of our guys a game. Asad Shafiq played really well today. It's unfortunate he got run out because he was looking really good. We don't really know the XI at the moment because there are a few warm-up games before the World Cup, but we've got a good unit."

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and blogs here

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