Vettori scathing of New Zealand performance

Napier, Feb 2 (AFP) New Zealand captain Daniel Vettorihas issued a scathing critique of his side''s top order,describing their performance as "unacceptable" in their latestdefeat by Pakistan.

Pakistan lead the six-match series 2-1, with one gamewashed out, after winning the third encounter by two wicketswith an over to spare yesterday.

In a series being used to fine-tune for the World Cup,New Zealand have gone downhill since romping to a nine-wicketwin in the first game, and the second was washed out.

Pakistan won the third match by a commanding 43 runs andwere just as dominant in Napier.

On a McLean Park pitch tailor-made for batting, and whichVettori rated as worth at least 300 an innings, New Zealandstruggled to 262-7 thanks largely to a salvage mission by themiddle and tail batsmen.

Pakisan knocked off the target with an over to spare totake a psychological edge going into the fifth match atHamilton on Thursday.

"Being five for 80 at McLean Park, I don''t think that''sacceptable. It''s a great batting deck and it''s just notacceptable," Vettori said as he analysed yet another top orderfailure by New Zealand.

"I was pleased with the way (James) Franklin and the twoMcCullums (Brendon and Nathan) scrapped to give us a score,they all played exceptionally well to give us credibility, butfive for 80 is just not good enough."

Franklin, who was brought into the side at the lastminute when Jesse Ryder pulled out with a finger injury, topscored with 62 from 75 balls.

He also featured in New Zealand''s two highestpartnerships, 62 with Brendon McCullum (37) and 64 with NathanMcCullum who posted his first half century and was unbeaten on53 at the close.

Misbah-ul-Haq, who has toyed with the New Zealand bowlingthroughout the Test and one-day series, showed how easy thepitch was to play with an effortless, and career best, 93 notout.

He bolstered the Pakistan innings with an 89-runpartnership with Younis Khan (42) and then a 40-run stand withAbdul Razzaq (23).

But while Misbah provided the necessary runs for victory,Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi gave credit for the win to hisbowlers who destroyed New Zealand''s recognised batsmen.

"The track was heaven for the batsmen, and I think theway the boys bowled they really bowled well and and I thinkthe credit goes to the bowlers," he said.

Left-armer Wahab Riaz was the prime wicket-taker withthree for 51 from 10 overs while Abdul Razzaq slowed thescoring with a miserly one for 16 off seven. (AFP) PM

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