South Africa in New Zealand 2016-17 March 4, 2017

New Zealand 'clumsy' under pressure - Hesson

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New Zealand were unable to counter an outstanding bowling display from South Africa © Getty Images

New Zealand have to become better at reacting to pressure situations ahead of the Champions Trophy according to their coach Mike Hesson. In the deciding ODI against South Africa at Eden Park they limped to 149 all out which led to their first home series defeat since 2014.

The Auckland performance followed being turned over for 112 in Wellington earlier in the series, and though the collapses came against an impressive South Africa attack, and were balanced against a match-winning first-innings in Christchurch and the Martin Guptill-inspired chase, there was a sense of vulnerability outside of the big three in Guptill, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.

Hesson hinted that there had been an honest appraisal in the aftermath on Saturday's defeat, but said the fact the team had pushed South Africa, the No. 1 ODI side, close was a commendable effort.

"You don't want to state the obvious but sometimes you have to. When we were under pressure the way we responded wasn't where were wanted to be," Hesson said. "I thought we were in a bit clumsy with the bat, some of our decision-making under pressure - from some exceptional bowling - was disappointing.

"It was a heck of a series and a bit of a ding-dong battled against the world No. 1. Wellington was quite different in terms of the surface, that was more nip, but we got put under pressure by a good side and weren't able to deal with that. We'll need to improve in terms of soaking up pressure which two or three times this summer we haven't done as well as we'd have liked."

New Zealand had beaten Bangladesh and Australia on home soil this season and their last series reversal at home was against South Africa in 2014. They have now only beaten South Africa in two out of ten bilateral one-day series, but they did bring an end to their 12-match winning run which had been formed on the back of home whitewashes over Australia and Sri Lanka.

"This was a lost opportunity, that would be a fair reflection," Hesson said. "But most people will acknowledge that we've gone toe-to-toe with the best side in the world which many haven't been able to do for a long time. We fell at the last hurdle, but all in all we've played some pretty good cricket."

New Zealand's next one-day cricket is a tri-series in Ireland during May before the Champions Trophy in which they will be missing the IPL-based players. Hesson said that those matches would be important in answering some lingering questions, topping the list being who will take the keeping gloves between Tom Latham and Luke Ronchi.

Hesson all-but guaranteed they would both be in the squad, and praised the pair's work behind the stumps, but there is a curse on New Zealand's glovemen in terms of runs: not since Ronchi's unbeaten 170 in early 2015 has their wicketkeeper reached an ODI fifty.

"Both Tom and Luke are highly likely to be involved. The series in Ireland will be crucial to get a pecking order," he said. "I've been delighted with the wicketkeeping of both, but no doubt both are short of runs and that's something Tom and Luke are well aware of, probably more than anyone. It's not long ago that Tom was a really good performer for us at the top of the order. We know they are high quality players but have had a tough period."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jon on March 6, 2017, 3:24 GMT

    @moaz786, Smith has only led that T20 side a handful of times -- Finch, Warner and Watson have been Aussie's preferred options over the last 5 years. And up until recently Dhoni captained India's ODI team, taking a significant amount of burden off Kohli's shoulders. Virat has been in charge for all 3 formats for a little over a month and how long do you think it will be before the issue of an overworked, fatigued Kohli is raised? I give it 2 weeks tops.

  • A.J on March 6, 2017, 3:09 GMT

    Bruce and Worker look too good to leave out. 2 guys who can score runs and bowl.

    Worker - Guptil - Kdub - Taylor - Bruce - Watling - Neesham - CDG - Santer - Henry - Boult.

    Batting down to Boult, two seamers with averages under 30, plenty of spin, Nessham who is improving with the ball.

  • Beau on March 5, 2017, 23:17 GMT

    @LEGGAR: What series did you watch? One of those 'hammering's was a last-over squeaker brought home by the world's best ODI batsman after he'd been given a couple of lives by dodgy fielding. NZ's batting collapsed twice, that's why they lost the series. 2-3 is closer than anyone else has come to this SA team lately, and if NZ come up against them in a proper tournament... We'll, we all know how that usually goes...

  • Andrew on March 5, 2017, 22:21 GMT

    We love cricket... however Hesson and selectors are making it less interesting following the NZ team as they clearly can't bat. Bring in the new guys, give them a chance... at least it will be interesting to see someone else fail (time after time).

  • Jon on March 5, 2017, 21:55 GMT

    @moaz786, Smith has only led that T20 side a handful of times -- Finch, Warner and Watson have been Aussie's preferred options over the last 5 years. And up until recently Dhoni captained India's ODI team, taking a significant amount of burden off Kohli's shoulders. Virat has been in charge for all 3 formats for a little over a month and how long do you think it will be before the issue of an overworked, fatigued Kohli is raised? I'd give it 2 weeks tops.

  • koklea9167860 on March 5, 2017, 20:47 GMT

    @CRICKETAUTHOR has Chapman got his dispensation to play for NZ already?

  • kalvin on March 5, 2017, 18:26 GMT

    Future Champion Team: Oright looking over the structure of England, South Africa and India ODI team I came to a conclusion for the Champions squad cause all have batting until number 8. If you lose with this team have no regrets cause it would 10% happen: 1.Guptill 2.Worker 3.Williamson(c) 4.Taylor 5.Phillips/Blundell(wk) 6.Bruce/Munro 7.Chapman/Neesham 8.Grandhomme 9.Santner/Sodhi 10.Southee/Rance/Baker 11.Boult Williamson and Worker could add in spin apart from the 4 bowlers. Worker normally opens and Bruce and Chapman with impressive strike rates normally occupy 5 and 6. Phillips and Blundell recommended cause Ronchi is a Ducky and Latham batting is poor with the gloves. Broom after Austrailia series is no longer in form. Santner is NOT a batsman so no.9 for him. So there you have it a good opening pair and strong middle order.

  • Gary on March 5, 2017, 18:21 GMT

    @keep calm - what a load of rubbish! what you've just described there is the reality of all cricket - you seem to ignore the games where some of the SA players outside their key.group didn't perform and the reverse for the Blackcaps e.g. de Grandhome who performed ok in a couple of.the games, agree that there is some deadwood in there though that needs to be cut out - not sure if this will happen before the CT but should definitely happen after in the lead in to next WC

  • Abhay on March 5, 2017, 16:46 GMT

    Hesson it's time for you to retire and write books with your pal McCullum. NZ needs a new coach it's time for some new thought.

  • Yasein on March 5, 2017, 14:58 GMT

    Oh no is Hesson missing brain cells? Ronchi should NEVER play for NZ. The only way I see Latham fitting in is at the #5 spot previously occupied by Neil Broom. 1) Guptill 2) Worker (please score a pair of centuries or something against Ireland/BAN in place of Guppy) 3) Kane Williamson 4) Ross Taylor 5) Tom Latham 6) Neesham 7) CDG 8) Santner 9) Patel 10) Lockie/Milne 11) Boult. Theres nothing wrong with giving Milne/Lockie the new ball

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