Pacer Haris Rauf led a clinical bowling display with an excellent four-wicket haul before Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali’s onslaught as Pakistan took “revenge” on New Zealand for a recent off-field snub with a five-wicket win in the T20 World Cup on Tuesday. Most of the top-order batters, except for opener Mohammad Rizwan (33), struggled but the experienced Malik (26 not out off 20 balls) and number seven Ali (27 not out off 12) flourished towards the end with a 48-run partnership for the sixth wicket to take Pakistan home with eight balls to spare. This was Pakistan’s second consecutive win after their comprehensive 10-wicket victory over India on Sunday.
The New Zealand team, playing in its first match, had recently withdrawn from a scheduled series against Pakistan after landing there, citing a security threat which, according to the host country, did not exist.
In a wake of this win many Pakistani social media user had bullied kiwis over the last minute exit from earlier series.
Here we go again.
— Bull's Eye (@iTsTaLaT) October 26, 2021
— Anwar Lodhi (@AnwarLodhi) October 26, 2021
Chasing 135 for a win, captain Babar Azam (9) and Rizwan made a decent start but they were finding it difficult to get the runs and the boundaries as the chase progressed. Azam was not at his fluent best as compared to his brilliant unbeaten 68 against India and was out in the sixth over, bowled by Tim Southee, who got his 100th wicket in T20 Internationals.
Runs were not coming easily for Pakistan at this stage as they reached 30 for 1 at the end of power play and they got another jolt as one-down Fakhar Zaman (11) was trapped LBW by Ish Sodhi in the ninth over. Former captain Mohammad Hafeez hoisted James Neesham for a six as soon as he came out as Pakistan reached 58 for 2 at the halfway mark.
But, in the next over, he got out with Devon Conway taking a stunning diving catch near the boundary ropes off the bowling of Mitchell Santner. New Zealand were back into the match with Rizwan, who had scored 79 not out against India, trapped LBW by Sodhi in the 12th over. After a couple of relatively quiet overs, Trent Boult got his first wicket by getting rid of Imad Wasim (11) in the 15th over.
But from there on, Pakistan changed the script of the match, courtesy Malik and Asif Ali. Pakistan needed 44 runs from the final five overs and in came Ali who clobbered Southee for two consecutive sixes in the 17th over to tilt the match in his side’s favour.