Ross Taylor, the stand-in New Zealand captain, has denied that his side were complacent in the final game of the three-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan in which they were routed by 103 runs, the largest winning margin in contests between Test nations. New Zealand had already sealed the series after winning the first two games comfortably.
"We wanted to win the series 3-0 after what's happened over the last few months," Taylor said, "and it's disappointing to put out a performance like that in front of a pretty good crowd."
Chasing 184, New Zealand were bowled out for 80 in 15.5 overs, and at one stage were 3 for 4 with their top four batsmen - Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill, Dean Brownlie and Taylor - all dismissed for ducks. "It's a very disappointing way to end the series … when your four top batsmen get out for nothing it's pretty tough chasing a total."
Taylor credited Pakistan's bowlers for defending a target that he was confident his team would have been able to chase down. "The pitch changed a little bit but the way Abdul Razzaq and [Shahid] Afridi bowled was just outstanding," he said. Afridi, the Pakistan captain, had career-best figures of 4 for 14 in 2.5 overs, and became the first player to reach the milestone of 50 Twenty20 wickets. He extended the New Zealand slide that began when Razzaq picked up three wickets with the new ball, while conceding just 13 runs in his four overs.
Afridi said the win would come as boost to the Pakistan team that has struggled for consistency in recent times amid the spot-fixing allegations that have rocked the team. "This is the talent of Pakistan but we should be consistent," Afridi said. "We're trying to make a team combination before the World Cup (in February). I know we lost the series but this was a big win for us to keep our morale high."
The teams next play two Tests, the first of which begins on January 7. Taylor was hopeful that his team would be able to bounce back from what was a disappointing end to the Twenty20 series, after the initial optimism following John Wright's appointment as national coach and their victory in the first two games.
"The Test's not far away, and it's a bit disappointing to lose the momentum we had," he said. "But the Test series is something where we did quite well in India, and hopefully we can improve on that back here in New Zealand."