Monday, December 27, 2010

New Zealand aim to clinch series

New Zealand v Pakistan 2nd Twenty20, Hamilton

 A solitary Twenty20 victory is a fickle indicator of a team's form. A win today could be followed by comprehensive defeat tomorrow; such are the vagaries of the format. So New Zealand will not have over-celebrated their success in the opening game against Pakistan, but they will have savoured it. Their five-wicket victory ended a drought that comprised 11 ODIs and three Tests and stretched back to August. The aim will be to clinch the series with another win at Seddon Park.
The result, in the first match of John Wright's tenure as New Zealand coach, was set up by two performances: a five-for from Tim Southee and a blitz from Martin Guptill, who capitalised on the Lilliputian boundaries in Auckland. It was an impressive showing, especially since New Zealand's best cricketers - Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum - were missing from the contest. The responsibility will be on Ross Taylor once again to lead New Zealand against an opponent that is unpredictable.
Pakistan's hit-or-miss side were one of the semi-finalists in the World Twenty20 in May but they are presently on a five-match losing streak, which began during their controversy-ridden tour of England during the summer. They are trialing their captain Shahid Afridi at the top of the order again. The first game against New Zealand was only the third time he's opened in Twenty20 internationals and the outcome was an aggressive 20. The batting remains Pakistan's weakness, while their varied bowling attack, comprising bowlers capable of extreme pace, reverse swing, off and legspin, is their strength. They were undone by the unusual dimensions of Eden Park, and should be more effective in Hamilton.

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