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I'm uncomfortable with our bowling setup: Dipak Patel on NZ team's attack

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Dubai, Oct 29 (IANS) Former New Zealand all-rounder has put a big question mark over the Kane Williamson-led side’s ability to make an impact in the ICC T20 World Cup after the Black Caps lost the opening game against Pakistan, and stare at a premature exit if they lose their second ‘Super 12’ game to India on October 31.

“I’m very uncomfortable with our bowling setup, to be honest,” Patel told SENZ Mornings on Friday.

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“I get the impression the ball isn’t swinging. That nullifies our top two opening bowlers in (Tim) Southee and (Trent) Boult. So if we’re not taking wickets early, at the start of the innings, look, we’re going to struggle.”

Patel feels that Williamson will need to rotate his bowlers better given that quick bowling stalwart Lockie Ferguson has been ruled out with a calf tear.

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“Lockie’s situation didn’t help. He gets injured a lot, and that didn’t help our cause, not being able to play an extra seamer. If the ball isn’t going to swing, you need pace,” added Patel.

The Kiwis were on course for victory with Babar Azam’s side requiring 44 from the final five overs, but veteran batter Shoaib Malik (26 off 20) and Asif Ali (27 off 12) used their experience to guide Pakistan to victory.

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Patel also feels that the Black Caps’ inability to make an impact in the Powerplays proved decisive. Southee finally accounted for Babar Azam with the first ball of the sixth over, while Boult’s first wicket came off the fifth ball of the 15th over.

The former all-rounder felt that Williamson could try to open with Mitchell Santner’s spin more often. “It’s a good move, but my worry is that he’s not an attacking spinner. While he’s economical, he’s not a wicket-taking option, and I believe if you are going to open the bowling with spinners, it’s got to be an attacking option. I just felt we lacked that ability to take wickets in the first powerplay, and that cost us.”

Patel, a veteran of 37 Tests and 75 ODIs from 1987-1997, is positive that leg spinner Ish Sodhi could get the Black Caps vital breakthroughs in powerplays. The 28-year-old impact in the middle overs was helpful, as he managed to get the wickets of Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman.

“I’d rather see Ish open, as much as it takes away the attacking option in the middle. On these wickets that don’t bounce a lot, and don’t spin, he gets a lot more over-spin and he bowls the under-spin as well which skids on and stays low. He’s going to be far more effective.

“(Williamson) needs to move sooner, and have that ability to change up, hit the wickets and get bowleds and lbws (early on). And not just rely on getting wickets in the deep (end of the match).”

New Zealand take on India in Dubai on October 31.

–IANS

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