The Financial Express

Clinical bowling makes it 2 in 2 for Pakistan

| Updated: October 26, 2021 23:54:45

Photo: ESPNCricinfo Photo: ESPNCricinfo

Pakistan beat New Zealand by 5 wickets in a low-scoring affair at Sharjah.

In response to the target of 135, Pakistan had a quiet start. At the end of the powerplay, they were 30/1. 

By removing the skipper Babar Azam in the last over of the powerplay, Tim Southee became the third bowler in the history of T20Is to reach the 100-wicket milestone, after Lasith Malinga (107) and Shakib Al Hasan (117). 

New Zealand strengthened their comeback even more as Ish Sodhi caught Fakhar Zaman plumb in front of the stumps in the ninth over, Pakistan were 58/2 then. 

Soon after, New Zealand found themselves on top as the experienced Mohammad Hafeez and the highest run-scorer in T20Is this year Mohammad Rizwan (864 in 16 innings) departed in successive overs.

Conway caught a screamer, arguably the catch of the tournament so far, in the long-off boundary to dismiss Hafeez while Sodhi dismissed well-set Rizwan (33) exactly the way he got his first one. 

In the fifteenth over, Trent Boult removed Imad Wasim and further tightened the grip. In the last four overs, Pakistan required 37 runs to win with 5 wickets in hand. 

Then came the power-hitter Asif Ali into the scene. He struck back-to-back sixes off Southee to get his team back in the fight. Next over, Shoaib Malik hit a boundary and a six off Santner as the pair got Pakistan at the driver’s seat, adding another 15 in that over. 

In the penultimate over, Asif got another clean hit for a six and finished the game off with a brace in the following delivery. 

Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali remained unbeaten with 27 each (20 balls and 12 balls respectively.) Ish Sodhi was the pick of the bowlers for the Blackcaps with his spell of 2/29 in four overs. 

Having lost the toss and being put in to bat, the Kiwis had a decent start. Both their openers managed to accumulate a total of 36 runs on the board in the first five overs.

Haris Rauf then came into the attack and ignited a fire in the crease. After bowling a toe-crashing 149-kph yorker, Rauf got the better of Martin Guptil in the next delivery with a 148-kph length delivery. New Zealand finished the powerplay at 42/1. 

Afterwards, the spinners - Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, and Mohammad Hafeez - started to spin webs around the batters as the former and the latter claimed one wicket each. Halfway through, the Blackcaps were 60/3. 

In the fourteenth over, an amazing piece of fielding from Hasan Ali on his own bowling helped Pakistan get rid of the best batter in the Kiwi line-up, Kane Williamson (25). 

Later on, just when New Zealand were starting to shift gears, Rauf claimed both the set batters - Devon Conway (27) and Glenn Phillips (13) in the same over. 

Shaheen picked up Tim Seifert in the penultimate over and Rauf took Mitchell Santner in the last one as New Zealand scored only 15 in the last two overs. 

It was an amazing exhibition of death bowling from Pakistan once again. In the last five overs, they conceded only 3 boundaries as New Zealand lost 4 wickets only to be able to score 34 runs. 

All the Pakistani bowlers did their job exceedingly well but Haris Rauf was the main man in action with the perfect blend of serious pace and deceptive slowers (4/22 in four), claiming a well-deserved Man of the Match award. 

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