Thursday, 9 December 2021

Pakistan eye early wickets of Guptill, Munro

Azhar Mahmood

WELLINGTON: akistan have set their eyes on getting New Zealand batting powerhouses Martin Guptill and Colin Munro out early in the second one-day international in Nelson on Tuesday.

Bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, speaking to media during a team practice session in Nelson today, said he has faith in the team’s bowling attack to get the key wickets of openers early in the game.

“Both [Guptill and Munro] are in great form and playing well. We need to get them out early. We will bowl to get wickets,” he said, noting the distinct playing styles of the two batsmen.

“Munro likes hitting. Guptill is a [great] batsman, takes his time. We will aim to get them out.”

To a question, the coach said failing to get the openers out early would not take the match out of Pakistan’s hands.

“I don’t believe so, I have complete faith in our bowling. Our bowlers can take wickets [at any point in the match]. The new ball will also be key. Our bowling is strong and we will perform [better] in the next match.”

Guptill, Munro

Mahmood lamented the rain intervention in Wellington, where New Zealand beat Pakistan by 61 runs (D/L method). But he was quick to laud the Black Caps’ performance.

“It was obviously frustrating. But rain wasn’t in our control. Credit to New Zealand, who played really well,” he said, adding that playing in the cold, windy conditions was a challenge.

He also rued the missed chance for Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson. “A class player like him, if he gets a chance then obviously it will create difficulties for us.”

Asked if this New Zealand side was the toughest challenge for Pakistan in a while, Mahmood said it was not.

“No doubt, New Zealand are a very good team. But we have defeated top teams [in the past], we are capable of beating very good sides,” said the bowling coach.

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