x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Waqar remains upbeat despite Pakistan's defeat

The Pakistan coach is confident that his side have got the worst out of the way after they began their tour of New Zealand in defeat.

Waqar Younis believes Pakistan will get used to the conditions in New Zealand.
Waqar Younis believes Pakistan will get used to the conditions in New Zealand.

Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, is confident that his side have got the worst out of the way after they began their tour of New Zealand in defeat yesterday.

They crumbled to an embarrassing five-wicket defeat to Auckland in a Twenty20 (T20) clash, which is a warm-up for the three-match T20 series beginning on Sunday.

Umar Akmal was the top-scorer with 25 as the Pakistanis put in a dismal show with the bat. Shoaib Akhtar and Saeed Ajmal took two wickets each in the hosts' reply but there was little else for Pakistan to draw solace from.

But Waqar remained upbeat. He said the poor showing was simply a consequence of his team having to get used to the conditions.

"It wasn't the ideal start but that happens sometimes when you've just arrived in the country and you don't really know much about the pitch conditions," he told Cricinfo. "I'm not really worried about it."

He is confident they will bounce back when they take on New Zealand in their first T20 match in Auckland. "I think they've learned the lesson and hopefully in the next game it will be a different ball game," he said.

"We have done badly today, and we have spoken about it. We have to work hard over the next couple of days so we don't repeat this type of performance."

The tourists were put in to bat at Colin Maiden Park and lost two wickets in their first over, Matthew Bates removing Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad with the score on four.

Bates also took the wicket of captain Afridi in his next over on his way to figures of four for 11 from three overs, meaning it was left to Younus Khan (18) and Umar to construct any kind of total.

The pair put on 38 for the fourth wicket and Abdul Razzaq (16) and Umar Gul (19) added 35 for the seventh but Pakistan were bowled out with 14 balls of their 20 overs unused.

Said Waqar: "The batting had been undergoing a good deal of work but the batsmen failed to click in the game and no one had taken responsibility to anchor the effort."

Colin de Grandhomme and Martin Guptill, the Auckland openers, shared a stand of 28 before the former fell for 20 from just 12 balls.

Guptill, the New Zealand Test batsman, went on to anchor the chase with 28 not out, the highest score of the match, as his side reached their meagre target in 13.2 overs despite a steady procession of wickets at the other end.

Gareth Hopkins, the wicketkeeper, dropped by the national side for the two-Test series which follows the T20 games, made just eight from 14 balls, but did stump Pakistan tail-ender Abdur Rehman when he was behind the stumps earlier in the day.