NZ coach proud of T20 fightback

New Zealand coach Gary Stead said he was proud of the way his inexperienced side bounced back to draw their Twenty20 series with Pakistan even if it is unlikely that many of the tourists will make his World Cup squad.

The Black Caps fell short of clinching the series when they were unable to chase down 179 for victory in Lahore on Saturday and lost by nine runs to share the series 2-2.

Stead, who will name his squad for June’s World Cup in the United States and Caribbean on Monday, was content with that turnaround after a seven-wicket thrashing in the first match to be completed in Rawalpindi.

“I’m very proud of the way our team played,” Stead told reporters from Lahore.

“We had a disappointing first hit out and where we were soundly beaten but to bounce back from that I thought was really pleasing and I think there’s a few young guys that have certainly increased their stocks over here.

“Let’s not forget Pakistan only two years ago were World Cup finalists and … for us to compete with them I think was really, really pleasing for us.”

With nine first-choice players unavailable because of Indian Premier League (IPL) duties and test skipper Tim Southee rested, the touring squad was pretty much a second-string outfit.

Promising opener Tim Robinson won his first T20 cap on the tour and scored 51 off 36 to anchor New Zealand’s innings in the fourth match but missed Saturday’s clash with a groin injury.

Seamer Will O’Rourke also impressed in his first T20 international series with a Man of the Match performance in the fourth match, taking 3-27 from his four overs.

Stead said all players in the international set-up needed to keep working even if they missed out on the World Cup squad on Monday given that replacements were likely to be needed at some stage.

“We’ve obviously got a number of guys in the IPL that will either join us when they get knocked out of the IPL or join us immediately after that when we travel to the West Indies,” he said.

“So the guys will still be working hard. There’ll be a number of fringe players who miss selection who will want to keep training as well just in case of injury,” he said – SuperSport.

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