Friday, November 13, 2009

Brendon McCullum not deflated by loss

Brendon McCullum, New Zealand's stand-in captain, is not looking too much into defeat to Pakistan in the first Twenty20. McCullum oversaw a 49-run loss in the first of two fixtures after New Zealand lost Daniel Vettori to a concussion, Kyle Mills to a shoulder injury and Jacob Oram to paternal leave, but was not too crushed at defeat against the world champions.

McCullum's decision to field was prompted to a degree by Australia's capitulation for 108 at the same venue in May, but it proved a costly one as Pakistan raced to 160 thanks largely to the opener Imran Nazir's 38-ball 58. "We looked at the stats and looked at the pitch and thought it might offer some assistance to the bowlers," McCullum said. "I thought it did that - we just didn't execute as well as what we should've with our fourth and fifth bowler. I think 140 was probably a par score."

In their chase, New Zealand were forced to bring on a half-fit James Franklin as a substitute when Aaron Redmond (who didn't come out to bat) picked up a groin strain while bowling. Despite that setback, McCullum said he believed New Zealand could succeed. "You always think it's a chaseable target. If they had got 300 I'd still believe we were capable of winning. 160 was more than what we wanted to give up, it was more than what the par was but I still believed we were going to be a good enough team to chase it down."

McCullum and Martin Guptill helped launch New Zealand's chase by taking 17 off the first over, but within 15 deliveries the innings collapsed to put Pakistan on track for a sixth straight Twenty20 victory. "In Twenty20 that can happen," said McCullum. "You get it a metre either side or you get a bit of luck go your way with some of the other dismissals and you can get some momentum back but unfortunately we happened to find the fielders and nicked the balls.

"The strategy was to consolidate at times but in 20 overs a lot can happen in a short space of time. We needed to consolidate a little better than what we did but I thought they bowled well too."

One positive from the loss was the continued form shown by Tim Southee, who took 3 for 28 from his four overs. "He desperately wants to be a regular member of this team," said McCullum. "And the way he's come back - I thought he bowled brilliantly in the one-dayers as well - and again tonight, he was fantastic. It's a real plus to have a guy like him in your squad."

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