Ross Taylor, the New Zealand captain, has said he's pleased with his team's performance in the 39-run win at Seddon Park that gave his side the Twenty20 series against Pakistan with a game in hand. The victory included several significant contributions from New Zealand's top order as they posted 185. The batting was backed up by an impressive slow-bowling effort led by Nathan McCullum as Pakistan's chase was strangled by regular breakthroughs.
"All good sides win the key moments and we did that today," Taylor said. "With the bat, we've lost wickets at crucial moments [in the past] and it's something we're not doing at the moment. With the ball, our death bowling is an area we haven't done as well as we would have liked, but today it was outstanding. We took one side of the field out of play and the bowlers executed their plans."
New Zealand slammed 73 runs in four overs towards the latter part of the innings and Taylor singled that period of play as critical to his side's success. "There were quite a few crucial stages that we won and that was one of them. We scored 110 or so off the last ten overs and that was pretty good going on this ground."
Taylor was also full of praise for debutant Luke Woodcock who applied the squeeze alongside Nathan McCullum to ratchet up the pressure on Pakistan.
"It's quite a small boundary on the leg side that Woodcock bowled to, and he wasn't daunted by that. He bowled very well in tandem with Nathan and showed good promise. Being a left-armer he gives us some other spinning options as well." Taylor also added that he "owed [Woodcock] a few" after dropping a simple chance off Mohammad Hafeez that would have given the debutant his first wicket at international level.
Taylor also lauded Scott Styris and Peter McGlashan's blitz towards the end of the innings, saying, "the way they batted, it took the pressure off me and I played second fiddle to them and just fed them the strike."
The highlight of the New Zealand innings was McGlashan's 10-ball 26, which included two audacious reverse-swats off Umar Gul, for six.
"It's crazy, I'm never going to try that," Taylor said of McGlashan's stroke. "But that's his shot, I hope he continues to work on that and people just back him to do it. He plays the shot very well and if he continues to perform, that gives us an extra option, not just in the Twenty20 format but in the one-dayers as well. I thought his catches off Nathan were also very good." McCullum, whose 4 for 16 earned him the Man-of-the-Match award, said his job was made easier by the wickets that had fallen just before he came into the attack.
"The time that I was introduced was perfect for a spinner and once they've lost a couple of wickets it's a great time to come on," he said. "That was a pretty big move from Rossco which was great for me and Woody, to be able to work together and create a partnership." "The ball skids a little bit here at night and slightly bigger boundaries are can help with the spinners as well."
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis felt his team were thoroughly outplayed in all departments. "They batted better than us, they bowled better than us and they definitely fielded better than us," he said. "We played poor cricket, and when it came to bowling we were well below par. We didn't hit our lengths right and were missing out in terms of variation. Full credit to New Zealand, they kept coming at us."
"We were meant to bowl slow deliveries which we didn't really do, and Twenty20 is about hitting the yorker at the right time, and we didn't really do that. Umar Gul and Shoaib Akhtar were all over the place. We pulled it back in the middle when we bowled three or four overs for not many runs, but when the fast bowlers came back, the whole momentum shifted."