Pacer Haris Rauf led a clinical bowling performance with an excellent four-wicket draw ahead of Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali’s onslaught when Pakistan “took revenge” on New Zealand for a recent cut off the field with a win of five wickets in the T20 World Cup on Tuesday. Most of the top-order batsmen, except for opening batsman Mohammad Rizwan (33), struggled, but the experienced Malik (26 not out of 20 balls) and number seven Ali (27 not out of 12) flourished towards the end with ‘ a 48-run partnership to take the sixth wicket to Pakistan home with eight balls left. It was Pakistan’s second consecutive victory after their comprehensive 10-wicket victory over India on Sunday.
The New Zealand team, which played in its first match, recently withdrew from a scheduled series against Pakistan after landing there, citing a security threat that according to the host country did not exist.
Captain Babar Azam (9) and Rizwan chased 135 for a win, but they found it difficult to get the runs and the boundaries as the chase progressed. Azam was not at his best compared to his brilliant unbeaten 68 against India and was out in the sixth over, bowled by Tim Southee, who got his 100th wicket in T20 International matches.
The runs did not come easily for Pakistan at this stage as they reached 30 for 1 at the end of power play and they got another shock when Fakhar Zaman (11) with one knockout LBW by Ish Sodhi in the ninth over. trapped. Former captain Mohammad Hafeez hoisted James Neesham for a six as soon as he came out as Pakistan reached 58 for 2 at the halfway mark.
But in the next over he climbed out with Devon Conway taking a superb dive near the boundary ropes of Mitchell Santner’s bowling. New Zealand were back in the match with Rizwan, who scored 79 not out against India, and LBW was trapped by Sodhi in the 12th over. After a couple of relatively quiet overs, Trent Boult got his first wicket by getting rid of Imad Wasim (11) in the 15th over.
But from there, Pakistan changed the script of the match, courtesy of Malik and Asif Ali. Pakistan needed 44 runs from the last five overs and Ali, who beat Southee for two consecutive sixes in the 17th over, came in to tip the game in his team’s favor.
Malik hit a six and a four in the next over before Ali set Sharjah on fire with a six and hit the winning runs – a two – to take Pakistan to 135 for 5 in 18.4 overs. .
Rauf had earlier led the four-wicket bowling attack as Pakistan had limited New Zealand to a modest total. The Kiwis were in all sorts of trouble after being invited to bat in the face of a disciplined Pakistani bowling attack with opening batsmen Daryl Mitchell and Conway leading the way with 27 each and captain Kane Williamson contributing 25.
New Zealand could not have one substantial partnership, with their highest opening 36 runs between Mitchell and Martin Guptill (17). Shaheen Afridi, Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez also took one wicket each for Pakistan.
Afridi, who beat the Indian top order in Pakistan’s victory over India, got the swing in the opening, which was a first one. But Mitchell hit a four from his second over that yielded eight runs. Mitchell then hoisted Hasan Ali for a six when New Zealand wanted to take the initiative.
But they could not come out of the match unscathed as Rauf uprooted Guptill’s wooden post after the ball took a deflection from the batsman’s cushions.
Mitchell paid the price to go for one too many when he pulled out to Fakhar Zaman near the ropes after smashing a six from Imad in the ninth over. New batsman James Neesham did not last long as he was out for 1 in the next over from Hafeez as New Zealand reached 60 for three at half-time mark.
The Kiwis stepped on the gas and took 25 runs from the 12th and 13th overs along with Williamson beating Hafeez for a six and a four, even as Conway beat Shadab Khan for three consecutive boundaries. But the Kiwi innings took a turn after Williamson was run out in the 14th over when Hasan Ali’s brilliant direct throw from his own bowling drove the bailouts out.
New Zealand could only reach the 100-run mark at the end of the 15th over and Conway and Glenn Phillips (13) came out on top in the span of three balls in the 18th over bowled by Rauf.