Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has blamed his side’s 5-0 ODI series whitewash against New Zealand to top-order batting failure.
Despite a flurry of late-order runs in the fifth and final match in Wellington, Pakistan fell 15 runs short of the Black Caps’ 271/7 after another poor return from their top six. Of them, only Haris Sohail (63) passed 12 and after 17 overs the tourists were 57/5.
It was all a little familiar for Sarfraz, who himself only managed 3 from No.6.
“New Zealand are a very good team, they played well throughout the series. The main thing was batting, that’s why we lost the series.”
As well as paying tribute to his bowlers, who never let the hosts get away, Sarfraz did recognise the spirit of the lower-order. No.7 Shadab Khan (54) put on 105 with Haris Sohail to give Pakistan a chance, and they remained in the game until the penultimate over thanks to brisk runs from Fahim Ashraf (23), Aamer Yamin (32*) and Mohammad Nawaz (23).
“We back our team. And there are some positive things. The lower order played very well today, Fahim, Aamer Yamin, Nawaz. “The bowling unit were very good. Sometimes we had opportunities but we didn’t grab them.”
Martin Guptill, named Man of the Match for his even 100 off 126 balls, and Man of the Series for his 310 runs at 78 across the five matches, echoed Sarfraz’s comments on the Pakistan bowlers.
Martin Guptill’s hundred anchored New Zealand’s innings Martin Guptill’s hundred anchored New Zealand’s innings
“It certainly is [a very good Pakistan bowling attack]. They made it extremely tough for us to get the run-rate up in the middle of the innings in each game. They found a length that was hard to get away. Credit to them for the way they bowled.
The tall right-hander said the pitches on offer hadn’t brought out his most free-flowing form but was pleased with the way he and his colleagues had built partnerships throughout the summer.
“They have [been tough wickets] throughout the whole series. There hasn’t been that big 300 score yet, we’ve had to do a lot of hard graft with the bat and it proves that those partnerships we’ve been able to create have actually got us through to some good match-winning totals.
“I’ve been in reasonable form. It hasn’t been my most fluent work but sometimes you’ve got to score the tough runs and just eke it out a wee bit in the middle.
Kane Williamson was pleased with Matt Henry’s contribution Kane Williamson was pleased with Matt Henry’s contribution
“I just try to be in good solid positions to hit from. I haven’t had a high boundary count, I’ve been able to get off strike and create partnerships and that’s been able to get us through and get some match-winning contributions.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson paid tribute to returning quick bowler Matt Henry, who ripped out the top three before returning to take the final wicket to end with 4-53.
Henry was brought into the side to replace the rested Trent Boult ahead of the T20I series.
“He’s been chomping at the bit to come in and get a game and he was outstanding today with the new ball. Whenever he’s come in he’s performed really well for us. It’ great to have so many fast bowlers ready to go and it was nice for him to get his opportunity today.”
Williamson praised his side’s resilience throughout the series.
“There was a lot of cricket in a short period of time and the guys backed it up really well and adapted well on the different surfaces and played smart cricket.”
The three-match T20I series begins on Monday. Courtesy: ICC Cricket