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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Vettori slams top order after another loss

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori blasted the top order's performance as "unacceptable" after his team fell to a two-wicket defeat to Pakistan in the fourth one-day cricket international last night.
The stage was set for the batsmen on a typical McLean Park belter, but New Zealand's lower order were left to deliver the punch-lines as the hosts posted 262 for seven after winning the toss.
With scores of 300-plus only considered par here there was a feeling New Zealand were always off the pace and so it proved, but only just, as the tourists eventually reached 264 for eight with an over remaining. They take a 2-1 lead into the fifth of six matches, at Seddon Park in Hamilton tomorrow.
"I think we walked off the park after batting thinking 300 was a par score, so we had to scrap pretty hard with the ball to give ourselves a chance, and I think we did," Vettori said last night.
"But being five for 80 at McLean Park, I don't think that's acceptable. It's a great batting deck and it's just not acceptable".
"I was pleased with the way (James) Franklin and the two McCullums (Brendon and Nathan) scrapped to give us a score, they all played exceptionally well to give us credibility, but five for 80 is just not good enough."
New Zealand's effort with the ball or in the field could not be faulted, but they needed something extra special and it did not arrive.
Pakistani batsman, Misbah-ul-Haq has been New Zealand's nemesis all summer and last night was no different in the run chase. He was circumspect at the start and produced the big shots when they were required, ending unbeaten on 93 from 91, his highest score from 62 matches rightfully earning him the man-of-the-match award.
He combined with Younis Khan to provide the substantial partnership Pakistan required with 84 for the fourth wicket, added 40 valuable late runs with Abdul Razzaq, then watched as No 10 Sohail Tanvir took 14 runs from the penultimate over bowled by Tim Southee, who went for 36 from his last three overs.Scott Styris was New Zealand's best with the ball, taking three for 40 from nine overs. Vettori and Hamish Bennett both had credible returns of two for 48 from 10, though Vettori tweaked a hamstring in his third over and is a doubtful starter for tomorrow.

"I thought Hamish Bennett and Scott Styris stepped up but in the end I just ran out of resources really," Vettori said.
"We put it all in early on hoping to win in the 45th or 46th overs but it wasn't to be. Asking the likes of Scotty to bowl in the death,
which is not his normal role, is tough. I think the bowlers should be happy with their efforts."
New Zealand simply did not have enough runs and it was left to Franklin and Nathan McCullum to drag them up to a semi-respectable total after the top order fell to pieces.
Franklin top scored with 62 from 75 balls, the Wellington allrounder only a late addition to the team after opening batsman Jesse Ryder was ruled with a finger injury.
Nathan McCullum was unbeaten on 53 from 58 balls, his first half century.
They were responsible for lifting New Zealand to a defendable total after they had been 79 for five.
New Zealand started brightly enough with openers Jamie How and Martin Guptill keen to make use of splendid conditions for batting and racing through to 37 without loss in six overs.
What followed was simply unfathomable. Three wickets fell for four runs in 11 balls as the top order self destructed with a series of rash shots and injudicious running.
Left-armer Wahab Riaz was the chief wicket-taker for Pakistan with three for 51 from 10 overs.
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