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Ross was terrific, Pakistan was not, says Waqar

PALLEKELE, March 8: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis offered words of consolation for Kamran Akmal after the beleaguered wicket-keeper’s costly misses allowed New Zealand to wrapped a clinical 110-run win at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium here on Tuesday.

Waqar, while leaping to the defence of Pakistan wicket-keeper, lauded Ross Taylor’s outstanding innings of 131 and described it as one of a lifetime knock.

“Look, this is not the right time to blame anyone for the mistakes.

“I admit that Kamran Akmal didn’t have the best of games and dropped a few in this match and the standard of his keeping was well below par. But that can happen in cricket.

“You mustn’t forget that Ross Taylor played one of the best knocks,” the Pakistan coach said. “All credit to Ross for playing such a wonderful innings. The way he paced it was the hallmark of it and it was one of the best seen for a long time.”

Waqar expressed hope that Pakistan would bounce back from this defeat and Kamran will improve his act before the remaining two games in Group ‘A’.

“We have got five days to prepare for the next match [against Zimbabwe]. We can’t kick Kamran out of the team because we are now in the middle of the tournament. We will assess ourselves and try to get things sorted out and do what best we can do to improve our game. We’ll also try to make Kamran better for the next games and ensure he doesn’t repeat the same mistakes he did today,” said Waqar.

“This was the first occasion we were chasing something and ended up on the wrong side. We now have to ask ourselves how do we plan and try to chase the target as we can’t allow teams to just walk all over us,” he remarked. “We have already seen teams chasing 300 or more in this World Cup. On a pitch like this, I think 300 was definitely chaseable.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand batting star Ross Taylor said it was the nicest birthday gift he ever received despite struggling to get going for the major part of his innings.

“I was a bit lucky early on [because of dropped catches] but it went my way. For the first 60-70 balls I felt I struggled and just try to get going.

But as I went along, the confidence came into my batting. It was probably the best birthday gift of my life.” Taylor remarked. “Once we had 300 on the board, we were not going to let the advantage slip. All credit to Tim Southee and Kyle Mills for putting Pakistan under pressure with those early strikes.”