Ryder builds on useful starts
New Zealand are hoping Jesse Ryder's improved fitness translates into big runs as they battle to stay in contention for the World Twenty20 semi-finals. Ryder missed most of the season with a stomach problem but has returned to the side for this tournament and is chipping in with useful displays at the top of the order.
Ryder has scores of 42, 2 and 33 in the first three matches and will need to keep delivering if New Zealand are to overcome Pakistan in Barbados on Saturday. The loser of the fixture will almost certainly be out of the race for the semi-finals while the winner should also need to succeed in their final Super Eight match to guarantee a top-four place.
"If we play to our potential I think we can do it," Ryder said. "We've got the team to do it."
Ryder is pleased with his fitness after the long lay-off and his only complaint is some stiffness in his legs. "I think my form is going pretty well, I'm striking the ball well," he said. "It's just a matter of getting in and going from there."
The coach Mark Greatbatch wants a couple of his men to star and Ryder, who opens with Brendon McCullum, is an obvious candidate for a large impact. New Zealand's players have been contributing but none has scored a half-century and only Nathan McCullum has taken three wickets in an innings.
"You need one or two guys to really step up," Greatbatch said. "That means a match-winning performance with the ball and a match-winning performance with the bat. It normally comes down to one or two guys."
New Zealand lost their opening Super Eight game to South Africa in Barbados on Thursday and need a quick turnaround. "We've got to regroup and scout Pakistan," Greatbatch said, "it's a big game coming up for us."