Hamilton, Feb 2 (AFP) New Zealand cricket coach JohnWright has made in-form Pakistan batsman Misbah-ul-Haq thefocal point for his side on the eve of the crucial fifthone-day cricket international.
New Zealand trail Pakistan 1-2 after four matches andneed to win in Hamilton tomorrow to keep the series alivegoing into Saturday''s final match in Auckland.
Misbah has been the key difference between the two sidesand Wright has told his batsmen to study and analyse themaster strokemaker''s unbeaten 93, which set up Pakistan''stwo-wicket win in the fourth match in Napier yesterday."His was exactly the type of innings we need," Wrightsaid. "I think throughout this series he''s been their glue,and we probably need some glue."
In six innings so far in the Test and one-day series,Misbah has passed 50 five times with an average of 115.50 inthe Tests (62, 99, 70 n.o.) and 89 in the one-dayers (50, 35,93 n.o.).
Wright said New Zealand would need at least two of theirtop order batsmen to produce an innings of substance.
"The answer is clearly that we have to start generatingsome runs and the boys are aware of that. They''re trying realhard and they can play."
Meanwhile, the 36-year-old Misbah believes he is in thebest form of his career.
"I''m really enjoying this form and I''m really enjoyingNew Zealand, I''m happy that my performances are doing a goodjob for the team," he said.
"Cricket is all about confidence and at the moment theconfidence is high, that''s why the form is good and I''mscoring runs."
Misbah''s golden form is not the only problem facing NewZealand as there are concerns over captain Daniel Vettori, whotweaked a hamstring in yesterday''s fourth match in Napier.
However, Jesse Ryder is expected to start after being alater withdrawal in Napier because of a finger injury.
"We''d be pretty hopeful about Jesse," Wright said.
"I''m not quite so sure about Dan, I think it''s justgeneral stiffness but we''ll have to have a look. He''s probablymore uncertain but we''ve got a physio who is very experiencedso we''ll act on the expert''s advice."
Wright is also keen to end the player rotation system NewZealand have used in the Pakistan series, saying the time forexperimentation is over if New Zealand are to have a chance oftaking the series."I think we need to go with our frontline side," injuriespermitting, Wright said.
"I''ve always believed at this level you pick your bestside, that tends to solve a lot of problems because you haveyour best chance of winning and getting some momentum going.