Cricket: Black Caps to tone down aggressiveness

Peter Fulton of New Zealand bats off the delivery of Ryan McLaren of South Africa during the 1st T20 match between South Africa and New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images.
Peter Fulton of New Zealand bats off the delivery of Ryan McLaren of South Africa during the 1st T20 match between South Africa and New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images.

Peter Fulton admits the Black Caps paid for their aggressiveness in the first Twenty20 against South Africa and says reining that in could lead to success in tomorrow's second match.

New Zealand were thrashed in the opening match of their tour of the Republic and they will have to turn that around tomorrow morning (5am NZT) in East London if they wish to level the two-match series.

After falling to 36-6 the Black Caps stumbled to 86 all out batting first in Durban, a total which took the Proteas just 12 overs and two wickets to overhaul.

Fulton, who opened the batting and was dismissed for nine, said his side will have to learn from their mistakes if they are to compile a competitive total tomorrow.

"In hindsight, we probably made the mistake of going a little too hard too early with the bat," he said.

"We wanted to be aggressive - that's what we spoke about in the lead-up - but, after the first two or three wickets, maybe we should have tried to rein things in a little bit and get a competitive score on the board."

Fulton thought it was important for his teammates to put the first-up failure behind them, especially considering the challenges still to come in the testing tour.

"We have to try to put yesterday's result aside to some extent. We've got to learn from the mistakes we made but go out tomorrow and try to start fresh. "[South Africa] are a good team and that's the challenge of coming over here - playing against one of the best teams in the world and some of the best players in the world. We're under no illusions about how tough it is but I'm pretty confident we can put in a better performance tomorrow."

It would be hard to put in a worse performance than what they managed in Durban. Just three batsmen broke double figures and debutant Colin Munro top-scored with just 23.

Fulton refused to blame the pitch at Kingsmead, which was probably wise considering the home side had few problems in their turn with the willow.

"The pitch in Durban had a little bit of pace and bounce but probably not as much as we had anticipated. We'll wait and see what the pitch comes up with tomorrow but, regardless of the pitch, we've just got to play better cricket in all forms.

"It doesn't really matter what the pitch is, we've still got to combat the South African bowlers, whether we bat first or second, and put a good score on the board."

With five debutants in the 15-man New Zealand squad, Fulton said the atmosphere in the camp was bright despite the heavy defeat.

"The team spirit and the feeling around the team has been pretty good. There are some young guys that have come into the team and they've got a lot of talent. We saw glimpses of that in the first game and hopefully we can see more over the next couple."

Martin Guptill and Trent Boult missed the first game through illness but Fulton said they had improved and were potential selections for tomorrow.

- APNZ

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