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 Recent Match Report – New Zealand vs Pakistan 19th Match, Group 2 2021/22

Recent Match Report – New Zealand vs Pakistan 19th Match, Group 2 2021/22


Report

New Zealand batting fails as Pakistan chase down 135 in Sharjah

Pakistan 135 for 5 (Rizwan 33, Asif 27*, Sodhi 2-29) beat New Zealand 134 for 8 (Mitchell 27, Rauf 4-22) by five wickets

A lot of Pakistan’s success is built on a bowling line-up that has more to offer than an Amazon sale. Shaheen Afridi brings the swing. Haris Rauf brings the pace. Hasan Ali brings the hustle. Imad Wasim brings the control. And Shadab Khan brings the magic. New Zealand went up against all of that and came away battered and bruised, their total of 134 never quite enough.

Pressure tells
Pakistan were in control of the game ever since they won the toss and chose to bowl. Eleven of the 20 overs they bowled went for six runs or fewer.

New Zealand tried their best to disrupt a bowling line-up in prime form. They made Daryl Mitchell open the batting for the first time in his professional career. It didn’t work. They punted on James Neesham at No. 4. It didn’t work.

The pressure that kept piling on them even had an effect on their captain. Kane Williamson, after nudging a back of a length ball into the off side, set off for a single that he normally never would have. But here, with all run-making avenues blocked, he took a few too many paces down the pitch and was sent packing by a Hasan Ali direct hit.

New Zealand were in the middle of a decent sequence at the time, smashing four fours and a six in nine balls. Since that wicket, in the 13th over, there were only three further boundaries.

Pace is pace yaar
Rauf began the game with a 149 kph yorker that literally took Martin Guptill out of the game. He survived that ball but wouldn’t field in the second innings. High pace is a point of difference in T20 cricket. It’s the reason Pakistan invested in a bowler who only turned professional a mere three years ago.

And while Rauf can set the speed gun on fire, here three of his four wickets came through slower deliveries. It was a sign of his evolution and an understanding of the conditions in Sharjah. One of his balls – at 149 kph – was lashed for four by Mitchell Santner in the 20th over. So, he pulled his pace back. The batter was through with his shot early. The stumps were in all kinds of disarray. And Sharjah kept screaming “Haaaaris! Haaaaris! Haaaaaris!”

The end
A traditional strength of New Zealand’s – fielding – and one of a more recent vintage – Ish Sodhi‘s legspin – allowed this game the veneer of a contest. Pakistan went into the last five overs needing 44 to win. And in conditions that were slow and low that tends to be a tough ask unless someone goes berserk.
So Asif Ali wound up those big strong arms of his and launched the second and third balls of the 17th over clean out of the park. He came into the World Cup on the back of a woeful CPL. But here he was dismantling one of New Zealand’s best fast bowlers in Tim Southee to usher his team to a flawless victory.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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