Ross Taylor, New Zealand's stand-in captain for Daniel Vettori, rued his team's batting performance during the failed chase of 294 in the third ODI against Pakistan in Christchurch. Taylor, who made only 6 off 14 balls, said his batsmen should have pushed on after getting starts. Martin Guptill and Jamie How began briskly, while Scott Styris and Kane Williamson chipped in with 40s, but New Zealand went down by 43 runs.
"We got a few starts but didn't go on. In the end we couldn't keep up with the rate," Taylor said after the game.
Taylor also credited the Pakistan seamers, who kept chipping away at the hosts as the run-rate crept up. "Umar Gul bowled well. He along with Wahab Riaz got some reverse swing on a pitch that broke up a bit in the end."
New Zealand had dented Pakistan with a couple of early wickets and it seemed that the visitors would have to settle for a score of around 240. But Shahid Afridi's monstrous assault in the final ten overs - they yielded 126 runs - gave Pakistan the initiative. "The last 10 overs were crucial. You got to give credit to Afridi who hit some massive sixes."
Afridi praised Mohammad Hafeez, who added 94 with Misbah-ul-Haq, for setting up Pakistan's competitive total with an assured 115, his maiden ODI century. "The way Hafeez started; he played like an experienced player. Misbah and Hafeez took the responsibility to ensure that we played 50 overs. We played mature cricket. Hafeez and Misbah took time to settle, but we had wickets in hand and we could play the big shots."