23 September 2012 - 08:36pm IST
by Wisden India staff in Pallekele
Ross Taylor might have lost a game of cricket to an opposition team that was superior on the day, but he was not completely crestfallen as New Zealand qualified for the Super Eights thanks to their Net Run Rate.
New Zealand rang in a series of changes in their batting line-up, some forced by injury and others strategic. Martin Guptill was ruled out with a hamstring injury, and New Zealand slotted Kane Williamson at the top of the order. There were more changes to follow as Taylor was held back till No. 6 despite New Zealand facing a stiff target.
“We wanted a right-hand-left-hand combination,” said Taylor. “We talked about Kane opening the batting before this game. It was no surprise to us. I don’t think we lost it there. We dropped a few catches, leaked too many runs in the first ten overs. The way we pegged it back was good. We could’ve been staring at something closer to 200.”
Taylor also explained that there was more to Twenty20 cricket than just trying to play big shots from the word go, and did not go with the theory that the absence of Brendon McCullum and Guptill at top of the order hurt New Zealand.
“It’s about weighing up the best way to score runs on different surfaces,” he said. “It’s not just about bashing fours and sixes. It’s also about minimising dot balls, which is something we were aiming to do.”
Taylor felt that Pakistan’s spin bowlers had done more with the conditions than Bangladesh’s spinners. “They’re world-class spin bowlers,” said Taylor. “It was a totally different wicket. It didn’t quite skid on like it did the other day (against Bangladesh). It spun a lot more, was a lot drier. They put the ball in the right areas and asked a lot of questions. Any time you’re chasing more than ten runs an over for a period of eight to nine overs, it’s going to be a tough ask.”
If Taylor did not especially savour the day, Nasir Jamshed, who was the Man of the Match for his sparkling 56, could not stop gushing about how much fun he had. “This was the first match I played against New Zealand and I really enjoyed batting with the captain, [Mohammad] Hafeez,” said Jamshed. “My team-mates gave me a lot of confidence in the dressing-room and just told me to play my normal and natural game. I hope I can now maintain these standards for the rest of the tournament.”
Jamshed attributed his free-stroking style to the confidence he had in his own ability. “From the time I began playing cricket, when I was batting I was never scared of anything, whether it is opposition bowlers or pressure,” said Jamshed. “I just try to go out there and enjoy my game.”