Jesse Ryder, the New Zealand batsman, said the team's top five 'has got to fire' in the remaining three ODIs against West Indies. The home side, who drew the Tests and Twenty20 series, trail 1-0 after their defeat in Christchurch.
"If one in the top five gets in and scores some runs and the rest bat around them it would be good," Ryder said. "A few of us got starts [in Christchurch] but we just didn't kick on."
Coach Andy Moles had given his team the same message after the loss, and asked the batsmen to follow Ramnaresh Sarwan's example - he took charge of the chase of 158 in 28 overs with an unbeaten 67, while the best for New Zealand was Ryder's 32.
"My message to the top five was they needed to take more responsibility," Moles said. "The opposition had one player bat all the way through and it showed if you've got someone you can bat around you can set targets and chase targets."
With Jacob Oram suffering from an injury niggle and unlikely to bowl even if picked in the XI, Ryder could also be in line for bowling duties in Wellington. While seven of New Zealand's squad were sent away for domestic games, Ryder was seen sending down his medium-pacers at the Basin Reserve under the supervision of New Zealand bowling coach Vaughn Johnson.
"It'd be nice to have a bowl, nice to get a couple of wickets," Ryder said. Impressing with the ball could also have a positive impact on his prospects of an IPL contract, with the auction slated for February. "I'm not even thinking about it at the moment. If it happens it happens," he said. "It would be a great opportunity if I got a chance to play over there. It would surely help my game playing with and against some of the greats.
For the moment, though, Ryder, has another immediate goal. "It would just be good to get that first hundred under the belt. I've thrown it away a few times. But I'm very happy with the way things are going at the moment. It would just be good to kick on from the starts I'm getting."
Besides Sarwan, one of the stars in West Indies' victory was wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, who scored an unbeaten 18-ball 28. The two managed to find the 40 required in the final four overs, and Ramdin, the team's vice-captain, was happy to overcome his disappointing run in the Tests.
"There was a bit of pressure going into the one-day series knowing I didn't perform with the bat as I wanted to in the Test series," he said. "I was determined to go out there and enjoy the moment. Batting with Sarwan gave me the confidence to go out there and execute."
Ramdin's batting average of 21 in both Tests and ODIs is less than his talent should be producing. "I think I'm quite capable of getting a lot more runs than that," he added. "So hopefully I'll continue in the one-day series and win more games for us."
He felt the close win had boosted the team's confidence, and was hoping the team could continue the good work in the field from Christchurch. "In the Twenty20 games we put down a couple of catches that cost us the game. We're working on it and in the last game that was evident because we took a couple of catches that got rid of some of their key batsmen.
"Both teams have guys who are capable of hitting a lot of boundaries so if you get those players out in the first 15 overs and shut down the runs it will be good."