Pakistan has made it two wins in a row to start their T20 World Cup campaign in style. After annihilating India, they cruised to victory over New Zealand with five wickets and more than an over to spare.
The chase was a team effort with the bat, while the bowlers had set it up for them early in the game.
Earlier, New Zealand huffed and puffed their way to 134 in their 20 overs, with Pakistan’s bowling effort stepping up a notch. Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell did a good job of not giving their premier pacer Shaheen Afridi any early wickets.
Pakistan are looking exceptional .. They will reach the Semis .. all other teams will will hope to avoid them & pray that whoever gets them knocks them out before the final .. Love watching them play Cricket .. #T20WorldCup #Pakistan— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) October 26, 2021
However, scoring on the powerplay has always been a problem. Haris Rauf then entered the attack and bowled brilliantly throughout the innings.
He made the initial breakthrough for Pakistan by dismissing Martin Guptill, and Mitchell followed suit thanks to Imad Wasim’s pinpoint accuracy.
At four, James Neesham came out to bat but was caught in the deep, while Kane Williamson looked great in the middle but was run out. He and Devon Conway had just formed a partnership at the time.
After Williamson’s dismissal, New Zealand were reduced to 90/4 for the remainder of the innings. Conway lingered for a while, but was unable to raise the stakes against Pakistani bowlers who were squeezing the runs.
Haris Rauf returned to conclude his term in the death overs and build on his excellent performance in the India game. As the Kiwis were held to a low total, he finished with outstanding figures of 4/22.
Despite New Zealand’s best efforts, Pakistan wins
The 135-run chase should not have been an issue for Pakistan after the way they chased down 152 against India.
Following their heroics in the previous game, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan appeared to have continued in the same vein.
The Kiwis, on the other hand, bowled brilliantly against them, allowing only 28 runs in the opening five overs.
The pressure got to Pakistan captain Asif Ali when he missed a hoick off Tim Southee and his stumps were destroyed.
Fakhar Zaman battled for only 11 runs in his 17-ball stint, causing the needed run rate to skyrocket.
Ish Sodhi pinned Rizwan in front of the stumps while he was collecting run at the other end. Mohammad Hafeez came and gone in the blink of an eye, and New Zealand had clawed their way back into the game at 87/5.
Two players, Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik, required 48 runs off the last five overs.
The duo demonstrated their worth and experience by hitting several spectacular shots that easily cleared the lengthy borders.
Malik, in particular, brought all of his experience to the table, remaining calm despite the needed pace approaching ten.
Asif Ali was a great player who had some of the best moments of his career while wearing the Pakistan jersey.
Despite the closeness of the game, Pakistan won it handily with five wickets and eight balls to spare.
They’ve already defeated two of their group’s toughest teams, India and New Zealand. To essentially guarantee their place in the semi-finals.