New Zealand paid the price for trying to be too aggressive without earning the right to, in the first Twenty20 international in Durban, according to their new captain Brendon McCullum. The visitors collapsed for 86 and were beaten by eight wickets in the opening fixture of their tour of South Africa.
"We obviously wanted to be aggressive today, and we wanted to put South Africa under pressure right from the get-go, but we learned a lot about earning the right to do so first," McCullum said after the game. "Ensure that you stick to your fundamentals, and first and foremost give yourselves that opportunity to be able to be aggressive. I think one thing we'll definitely take out of this game is that we were just a little over-keen to try and put some pressure on South Africa from the outset.
"We 100% believe that we can win the next game, we've just got to fine tune a couple of areas. I can't fault people for being overly keen to want to get into a series. It's just that we didn't quite earn the right to be as aggressive as we wanted to be and put South Africa under pressure. And we'll ensure that in 48 hours time, we'll definitely put up a much better performance …"
After choosing to bat at Kingsmead, New Zealand had slumped to 36 for 6 by the ninth over, with only Colin Munro making it to double figures among the top-seven batsmen. Munro was one of four debutants New Zealand included in their XI. Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell McClenaghan were the others.
"It was a bit two-paced," McCullum said of the pitch. "I think some balls were keeping a little low, especially the cross-seamers were keeping a little bit low, and some kicked a little bit … We just played too many out-shots early on when we weren't quite set. We didn't get the pace of the wicket, so that's something we can definitely learn from."
Faf du Plessis, the South Africa captain, said his team had learned from the mistakes New Zealand's batsmen made. South Africa achieved the target in the 13th over, with du Plessis top-scoring with an unbeaten 38 at No. 3. South Africa also had three debutants - Henry Davids, Chris Morris and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock - and du Plessis was pleased with the attitude of the new-look Twenty20 side.
"We put a lot of emphasis on that we're a young side, so we want to have a lot of energy and we want to have a good presence," du Plessis said. "That's what I was telling the guys, we've done an excellent job of doing that. He [Quinton de Kock] surprised me. As a young guy coming in, you'd think that he'd be a little bit more nervous but he made it look easy. That's what we strive for as a team, and so he did very well."
South Africa and New Zealand will play the second Twenty20 international in East London on December 23.