Disciplined Pakistan clinch 11th successive T20I series
It was business as usual for Pakistan as another disciplined effort helped them win their eighth successive T20I match and with that, their 11th successive series win in the format. Pakistan chased down a tricky 154 with two balls to spare on Friday (November 2) to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series against New Zealand despite some late hiccups.
Bringing back Fakhar Zaman proved to be a masterstroke for the home side as the left-hander started the chase with back-to-back boundaries. Even though Babar Azam was sedate in his approach, Zaman’s fireworks gave Pakistan the ideal start before a one-handed stunner from Kane Williamson at mid off ended the left-hander’s stay. Asif Ali, who earned a promotion, then milked the New Zealand attack to put Pakistan in a position of strength as they reached 75 for 1 at the halfway mark.
Even though New Zealand appeared to pull things back a touch by dismissing Babar and Asif towards the end, the experienced campaigners Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik ensured there were no hiccups. Needing 40 from the final four overs, Hafeez smashed Ish Sodhi for a couple of sixes to calm the nerves in the dressing room with Malik adding one in the following over. Eventually, with seven required from the final over, Pakistan completed the formalities despite losing Malik.
Earlier in the evening, Corey Anderson’s cameo at the death helped New Zealand post a fighting total after a wobble during the middle overs. New Zealand made a very good start after winning the toss with Colin Munro starting proceedings with a six off the very first ball. Pakistan were sloppy in the field, missing a run out opportunity and dropping a sitter, to give Munro a couple of reprieves while the left-hander kept finding the boundary in the powerplay.
Glenn Phillips had an outing to forget though, failing to get going and eventually getting dismissed for a 12-ball five but the visitors had posted 50 by the end of the powerplay. New Zealand then suffered a blow immediately after the powerplay when Munro inside edged one while attempting a slog to get stumped.
The Pakistan spinners then applied the brakes on the scoring rate to peg the visitors back and to make matters worse, New Zealand also kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Colin de Grandhomme mistimed one to long on followed by the disastrous run out of Ross Taylor for 3.
Anderson then managed to turn the heat on Pakistan by smashing Hasan Ali for a couple of fours and a six to inject some momentum to the New Zealand innings after Williamson failed to fire at the death. He eventually finished unbeaten on 44 guiding his team past the psychological 150-run mark, but it still wasn’t enough.
Brief scores: New Zealand 153/7 in 20 overs (Corey Anderson 44*, Colin Munro 44; Shaheen Afridi 3-20) lost to Pakistan 154/4 in 19.4 overs (Babar Azam 40, Asif Ali 38; Adam Milne 2-25) by 6 wickets.