Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Pakistan trump New Zealand for second win on the trot. Led by Haris Rauf's four-fer, Pakistan restricted New Zealand to a gettable total.
Led by Haris Rauf's four-fer, Pakistan restricted New Zealand to a gettable total.
Asif Ali's late flourish with the bat helped Pakistan overhaul New Zealand's total of 134 and secure their second win on the trot. Led by Haris Rauf's four-fer, Pakistan won the contest on Tuesday (October 26), at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, by five wickets and eight balls to spare.
Was it a one-sided contest?
Not at all. Even as the victory seemed comfortable eventually, for most parts of Pakistan's chase, they were struggling.
What was the turning point then?
When Asif Ali had walked out to bat – demoted to No.7 – Pakistan had clawed their way to 87 for 5 in 14.5 overs. Boundaries were hard to come by. However, in the 17th over, bowled by Tim Southee, Asif Ali smashed two consecutive sixes to bring down the requirements to nearly a run a ball. Shoaib Malik who was neatly working the ball around till that point too opened up in the next over, dancing out and tonking Mitchell Santner for a massive six down the ground – only two balls after smashing him for a boundary through the third man region.
Even as a hit on his helmet in the 17th over bothered him for a bit, Asif wiped out the remaining runs with a six and a two off Trent Boult in the penultimate over.
Why did Pakistan find themselves in a tricky position?
Tim Southee had smartly used his variations – in pace, lines and lengths – to trouble the in-form Pakistani openers in the powerplay. The veteran was given three overs to bowl upfront, and he returned with tidy figures of 1 for 12, which included the dismissal of Babar Azam, who was cleaned up with a slower ball. His efforts allowed New Zealand to keep their opponents in check on a day when his bowling partners – Trent Boult – strayed a bit in his lines.
While Babar and Mohammad Rizwan struggled with their timing, the in-form Fakhar Zaman was struggling to even connect. His misery came to an end when Ish Sodhi had him trapped leg-before – decision earned after the review was taken by Kane Williamson. Soon enough when Rizwan too was trapped by the leggie, he didn't even bother to question the on-field umpire's decision.
New Zealand's superb work in the field also ensured that Pakistan didn't have it easy in finding momentum. The most impressive of their efforts came in the 11th over when Devon Conway ran sideways from long on to pull a fine diving catch and dismiss Mohammad Hafeez, who was looking to give Pakistan's innings a push in the middle overs.
Daryl Mitchell provides a steady start
Even as Martin Guptill struggled to get going after New Zealand were put in to bat, playing out a maiden against Shaheen Afridi in the first over, a regular flow of runs from his opening partner – Daryl Mitchell – helped New Zealand from being bogged down. The most impressive of those shots came against Hasan Ali, who was welcomed with a massive six straight down the ground. As a result, even as Guptill scratched his way to a 20-ball 17 and Kane Williamson took time to get going, New Zealand managed to score at a run a ball for the first half of their innings. Mitchell's innings came to an end in the ninth over, when he holed out to Fakhar Zaman at long off, only a delivery after smashing Imad Wasim for a six in that region.
Haris Rauf's pace proves too hot to handle
Having troubled the Indian batters with his slower ones, Haris Rauf put on an exhibition of his pace against New Zealand. After bowling a searing 149 kmps yorker to Martin Guptill off the first ball of his spell. Off the next, he cleaned up the batsman, who got late in his shot and inside-edged it.
On a slow wicket where run-scoring was difficult, Asif consistently hit the hard lengths and caused trouble to the batters. While his pace was menacing enough, his slower balls proved as deadly. In his last spell, bowled in the death, he dismissed the set duo of Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips in a space of three balls before knocking the top of the stumps to dismiss Mitchell Santner off the last ball of the innings.
How did the others perform?
Even as there wasn't as much swing, Shaheen Afridi adjusted his lengths well and ensured scoring off him wasn't easy. Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan too maintained tight channels and didn't allow New Zealand to break free. Of the lot, Hasan Ali had a reasonably off day again.
However, he made up for it with his fielding. In the 14th over, when Kane Williamson tried to attempt a quick single before returning to his crease, was caught short to a brilliant pick up and throw on the follow-through by Hasan. Despite some impressive display on the field,, they had a few sloppy moments on the field, leaking a few runs due to misfielding.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 134/8 in 20 overs (Daryl Mitchell 27, Devon Conway 27; Haris Rauf 4-22, Mohammad Hafeez 1-16)lost to New Zealand 135/5 in 18.4 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 33, Asif Ali 27*; Ish Sodhi 2-28, Tim Southee 1-26)by 5 wickets.