Stand-in skipper Taylor savours New Zealand win

Stand-in skipper Ross Taylor on Tuesday said New Zealand would savour their first win of the 2011 World Cup over a Test nation after his batting blitz helped down Pakistan.

Taylor celebrated his 27th birthday by smashing 131 in 124 balls with a whopping seven sixes to take his side to a total of 302-7 in their 50 overs at the Pallekele stadium.

He was helped out by Nathan McCullum, who hit 19 in just 10 balls, and Jacob Oram, who hit 25 in nine balls, including three sixes, off a shell-shocked Pakistan attack.

Pakistan never looked like getting the runs after slumping to 66-6 and were eventually all out for 192, losing by 110 runs.

Taylor, captaining in place of Daniel Vettori, who had to leave the field after hurting his knee, praised his bowlers for destroying Pakistan’s top order.

When asked what was said in the dressing room between innings, Taylor said: “I think we didn’t want to be complacent. We thought that it was probably only a par total.

“I think it probably nipped around a little bit with the dew and the way that Abdul Razzaq (62) came out and batted very well our bowlers couldn’t quite hold onto the ball at the end there, but we’re pleased with the result.”

Birthday luck
Man-of-the-match Taylor said he had struggled early in his innings but McCullum and Oram had showed him the way.

“The way that Nathan came in and then Jake came in, it almost showed me the way to play and just back myself and a few came out of the middle, so I was pretty happy,” he said.

Before he had even opened his account, Taylor received a huge let-off when an edge flew between wicketkeeper and first slip, and the same over ‘keeper Kamran Akmal put down a straightforward chance when he was on eight.

“I had a bit of luck early on, which I put down to my birthday, but towards the end there I hit a few boundaries which was pretty sweet,” said Taylor.

Towards the end of his innings Taylor signalled for a new bat and he revealed the one he had been using had suffered damage before the match.

“I cracked it in the nets a couple of days ago. It seemed to go OK today but hopefully the new one can be just as good,” he said.

No excuse
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said his side, which previously had a 100% record in the competition, had under-performed.

“I don’t have any excuse. I know we didn’t bowl well, we didn’t field well, we missed opportunities and I think the fielding is the area where you can easily win a lot of games.”

He said Taylor had benefited from being given a chance early in his innings, calling for his team to be more focused.

“I’m totally confident of my team and confident in myself that we’re not going to repeat this performance,” he said.

“I think we should be more focused on what we did wrong in this game so we should learn from these things.” — AFP

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