Even in Twenty20, slogging is still a dirty word.

"It carries a bit of innuendo," said Jacob Oram from the United Kingdom, where the Black Caps were preparing for this morning's Super Eights match with an improving Pakistan.

"We prefer to call it hitting out."

Whatever you choose to call it, practice has never been as much fun. Coach Mark O'Donnell, who runs the hitting drills, said the 'art' of trying to hit every ball for four or six was practised assiduously.

One segment of each practice is designated for the batsmen to try to hit every ball for four or six. The bowling machine is set to yorker length and they basically tee off.

Each batsman's strengths quickly become evident.Oram likes to hit straight balls over midwicket.Brendon McCullum likes width that he can splay over the offside field.

James Franklin and Martin Guptill are the longest straight hitters.Peter McGlashan uses the momentum of the ball with a range of "subtle" sweeps off the medium pacers.Ross Taylor's extraordinarily quick hands allow him to access the off and legside boundaries but his default setting is to hoick it over midwicket.

The most gifted of the hitters is Jesse Ryder, so his loss, with a particularly nasty groin infection, is a blow to New Zealand's chances.

"He has such a wide arc of scoring areas because he plays it so incredibly late," said O'Donnell. "He might have an idea in his mind where he is going to play it but he has the ability to change his mind because he plays so late. He doesn't move his feet a lot but he has a really secure base so he can hit a long ball without really looking like he is trying too hard. He's extremely gifted in that sense."

In the past, when quick runs have been required, Oram has been the go-to guy. Of late however, his form has been mixed. By his own admission, his hitting has become a little one-dimensional. He prefers to clear out his front leg and pound the ball in an arc from mid-wicket to straight over the bowler's head.

"For that approach to be successful, he needs the ball under his eyes; he needs it straight," said O'Donnell. "The way you bowl to him is the way you bowl to a Lance Klusener or Albie Morkel - you stay away from the stumps and stack your offside field."

Oram has found that every attack in the world is now familiar with his modus operandi and refuse to indulge him. Attacks have been concentrating on yorker length but quite wide of off stump, reducing Oram's options.

"Ireland were even doing it to me," Oram said. "No disrespect to Ireland but they are generally considered minnows and the fact they were able to tap into that plan is a good indication that I am going to find it increasingly hard to access my 'power zone' over the leg side."

Oram was pleased to be able to get a couple through and over the offside against Ireland and hopes that augurs well for the rest of the tournament.

But he also knows that batting where he does will bring his share of frustrations.

"I was talking to a couple of the guys on the bench while I was waiting to bat the other day. It was like, 'here we go again, swinging from ball one'.

"In the past, I have preferred a few sighters before launching but the only way that's going to happen in Twenty20 is if our top order collapses and I don't wish that so I just have to learn to deal with it.

"But I'm in a good space. The team is in a good space - despite having only about six fit players, it seems - so I can't complain."