Pakistan have been jolted back to reality as the Champions Trophy winners’ nine-match winning streak was halted in emphatic fashion by a dominant New Zealand side.
It is not just the two consecutive defeats that have caused the Men in Green to come under criticism but also the manner of those defeats; with both batsmen and bowlers looking completely clueless in alien conditions Down Under.
While talking to ESPNcricinfo, batting coach Grant Flower was typically open about the failures of his charges but refused to rule them out for the remaining matches.
“We could still do well. The guys are still positive. They are good players and they don’t just become bad players overnight,” he said, discussing the change in sudden change in narrative regarding the Men in Green.
However, he was forthright about the issues that the visitor have to overcome if they are to claw their way back into the series.
“Yes there have been some soft dismissals,” he admitted, before also praising the New Zealand bowlers. “But [the dismissals] have been created by a very good bowling attack of the Kiwis.”
Flower identified the main issue plaguing the batsmen, pointing to the sudden change in conditions and their inability to adapt to them. “The guys have been struggling a bit to the bounce,” he said. “They have been playing quite a bit in Pakistan before so coming here was a bit of a shock to the system.”
However, the former Zimbabwe skipper suggested the batsmen should have used prior experience to adjust their game better.
He also discussed the bowling unit, that has shipped 466 runs in 73.5 overs across two matches, claiming a paltry nine wickets in the process; an average of 51.78 and an economy of 6.31.
“We are usually a very strong bowling unit and the guys have bowled well but even in the bowling we can improve a bit,” he said.
Flowers main gripe, understandably, was with the batsmen though, who have managed 412 runs in 80.1 overs for the loss of 15 wickets; an average of 27.47 and an economy of 5.14.
“The batting has a lot more to offer so hopefully we are going to see that.”
Pakistan lost the opening two matches via the Duckworth-Lewis method but never looked like winning either of the games. The first was a 61-run defeat after New Zealand had made 315-7 and Pakistan could only manage 166-6 chasing a revised target of 228. The second game was an even sorrier story for the Men in Green as their 246-9 was revised to a 151-run target in 25 overs. The Black Caps chased down that total in 23.5 overs for the loss of just two wickets.