(Highlights of Champions in video included)
DUBAI: Shahid Afridi described Pakistan’s defeat in the one-day series as “shameful” but was hopeful his players could lift their performance for the two-match Twenty20 series starting here on Thursday (today).
Pakistan lost the final match by a narrow seven-run margin in Abu Dhabi to go down 2-1 to New Zealand in the three-match One-day International series.
“It was a shameful defeat and we batted like club cricketers,” said Afridi, who will lead the side for the Twenty20 series because Younis Khan quit the shortest form of the game after leading Pakistan to victory in England in June.
During Monday’s One-day International Pakistan, who managed to dismiss New Zealand for 211 all out, were let down by their top-order batsmen as they struggled to 101 for nine.
An explosive unbeaten 73 by tail-ender Mohammad Aamir — who set the highest score for a number 10 batsman in the history of one-day cricket — gave them an outside chance of winning.
But Aamir and Saeed Ajmal’s new Pakistani record of 103 for the tenth wicket could not prevent New Zealand from taking the last wicket to survive the turn around and win the match.
Afridi said he has been trying to motivate his players after the defeat, adding that he did not believe being defending Twenty20 champions would put them under extra pressure in Thursday’s opening match.
“We need to stick to the basics and do our best to win both the matches,” said Afridi, man-of-the-match in both the semifinal and final of June’s world Twenty20.
Opener Imran Nazir and all-rounders Sohail Tanvir and Fawad Alam have joined the squad for the Twenty20 series. Younus, Mohammad Yousuf, Salman Butt and Wahab Riaz have all been left out.
New Zealand have yet to defeat Pakistan in a Twenty20 encounter but have been buoyed by their one-day series success in Abu Dhabi, said captain Daniel Vettori.
“The one-day series win was a confidence booster for us and I am sure the guys will be more motivated,” said Vettori, whose team came from 1-0 down in the series.
“The conditions in the one-day matches were favourable to Pakistan and here also they will suit them, but the key thing is that we have a series win and must keep the pressure up and win the Twenty20 as well.”
The Black Caps will have 12 players to chose from after Kyle Mills (shoulder) and James Frankin (back) ruled out of the first match, while all-rounder Jacob Oram left for home to attend his child’s birth, Vettori later told reporters. The second Twenty20 match here will be played Friday.