Cricket: Vettori lays down law after heavy loss (+photos)

By Mark Geenty

MANCHESTER - Daniel Vettori sat in the Old Trafford pavilion, looked at each of his New Zealand cricket teammates in the eye and demanded they show a bit of pride.

They'd just been outplayed in a nine-wicket Twenty20 loss, a glum Jacob Oram sat nursing a hamstring strain that could end his tour, and England had all the momentum heading into tomorrow night's (NZT) one-day series opener at Chester-le-Street, near Durham.

The captain said his words with a steely edge, and hoped they hit the mark to stop New Zealand's disappointing tour hitting new lows.

"It (Twenty20 defeat) doesn't do much for our chances, but like I asked the team after the game, you just have to lift, find some way within yourself," Vettori said.

"It's not just a matter of me or (coach John Bracewell) saying a number of things, some guys have just got to step up and perform. If you don't do it then we'll get results like we did tonight."

Without Oram who suffered the injury chasing a ball at fielding practice 45 minutes before the start, New Zealand scored an inadequate 123 for nine before Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen guided England home with 15 balls to spare.

There were few positives for Vettori, although New Zealand lost both Twenty20 matches to England in February before winning the one-dayers 3-1.

"I hope it's an omen for us but we do have to lift our performance quite markedly because today just wasn't good enough."

The headache is key allrounder Oram's injury as the team head north to Durham.

Vettori labelled it a 7-10 day standdown, which would rule Oram out for Birmingham on Wednesday and Bristol next Saturday.

The big decision for team management is whether he aims for the final two London matches, at The Oval on June 25 and Lord's three days later, or returns home early.

"It was huge blow, he's one of the best allrounders in the world so any time you lose him it makes it tough to recover from it," Vettori said.

"He's very disappointed. He'd targeted this series as an opportunity to show himself and how good a player he is. To have another injury, he works pretty hard and it's frustrating for him."

Oram's absence upsets the balance of the side and puts more onus on Scott Styris to step up with bat and ball.

It means James Marshall and Oram's late replacement Peter Fulton could both play, Gareth Hopkins could take the gloves and Brendon McCullum play as a batsman only, or they could gamble on five specialist bowlers which would mean Vettori at No 7 and Kyle Mills at No 8.

Marshall's superior fielding and potential to shuffle in the batting order saw him preferred at No 3 at Old Trafford, while Fulton has faced just 10 balls in his last two innings.

Young paceman Tim Southee is expected to be available after an ankle sprain and compete with Michael Mason for the third seamer's spot.

No one topped 25 for New Zealand, with McCullum taking nine deliveries to get off the mark and 18 to hit his first boundary after he was struck on the helmet by James Anderson.

England's batsmen attacked with confidence, Bell playing himself back into form with 60 off 46 balls and Pietersen survived a tough one-handed return chance to Vettori on nought to hit an unbeaten 42.

It was New Zealand's seventh consecutive Twenty20 defeat, while their world one-day ranking of No 3 is under threat from India.

The hosts, ranked a lowly seventh in one-day cricket, emerged with some renewed confidence.

"It was an excellent performance. Right from ball one the guys hit their lengths and did a little bit with the ball... it was very professional and very clinical," captain Paul Collingwood said.


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