New Zealand’s middle order batting lacked poise and purpose in their opening Twenty20 loss to Pakistan, says coach Mike Hesson.
Ducks to Corey Anderson, Mitchell Santner and Luke Ronchi proved fatal for the Black Caps in their 16-run defeat at Eden Park on Friday.
Grant Elliott and Todd Astle also departed cheaply as New Zealand were dismissed for 155 in pursuit of Pakistan’s 8-171.
It left a lop-sided scoreboard, with opener Kane Williamson’s 70 and in-form Colin Munro’s 56 off 27 balls having earlier threatened to steer the hosts home.
Hesson says there are important lessons to learn heading into Sunday’s second game at Hamilton.
“The way Colin played he certainly got us to a point where we were in a position to win,” he said.
“But once he got out there was some poor decisions made under pressure and that is something we’re obviously going to need to rectify.
“We need to be more clinical through the middle and with our decision-making.”
Hesson says Pakistan are clearly stronger than the Sri Lankan tourists who they dispatched in all three formats, including the T20 series (3-1) win.
Pakistan’s seam bowling was notably more potent while captain Shahid Afridi is a proven performer in the shortest form.
A double-wicket maiden from Afridi in the 14th swung momentum, while his 23 off eight balls with the bat hinted at the 35-year-old’s potency.
“He’s an explosive player,” Hesson said.
“We’ve come across him a few times in T20 and have a number of plans for him but if you don’t execute then he is able to take you apart with the bat.
“He is a fine cricketer and he has been around a while so he is a pretty wiley campaigner.”