Pakistan started the New Zealand series with another win in the format in which they are number one ranked side. After a whitewash against Aussies, Pakistan continued their winning streak, now it is their 7th consecutive Twenty20 International win. New Zealand put up a great fight in the contest first with some brilliant bowling and fielding restricted Pakistan to 148, then after by some good batting skills by Munro and Taylor, but it was Pakistan’s bowling who restricted them at 146.
Once again Pakistani captain did the same thing after winning the toss and electing to bat first. This time Pakistan’s in form batsman Babar Azam couldn’t contributed much with the bat, he could only 7 runs, followed by slog shot by Farhan left Pakistan 10 for 2. Asif Ali was promoted; he and Hafeez both put 67 runs partnership, which gave them some steady start, that partnership was broke by Milne when he got the wicket of Hafeez (45). Sarfraz joined Asif Ali at the middle, in 15th over Asif Ali tried to launch his shot for a SIX but failed to hit so and was caught brilliantly by Philips at deep mid-wicket. Pakistan kept losing their wickets at regular intervals, with the help of Sarfraz’s 26 balls 34 and Imad Wasim’s 10 off last 2 balls of the innings propelled them to 148 runs.
In reply, New Zealand started cautiously in the first few overs, than launched their missiles specially Colin Munro, who was sensational with his power hitting, inside power play they scored 33 percent of the run-chase only lost the wicket of Glenn Philips on the last ball of the power play. Due to some brilliant spin bowling by Hafeez and Shadab, they both brought their team back in to the contest, given away only 16 runs in their combined four overs after power play. That caused the dismissal of the Munro as he was trying to clear of Long on boundary in 12th over on the bowling of Shadab and could only found Malik, who took the catch perfectly. From there Pakistan made a comeback in to the game, but Ross Taylor kept playing some good shots and dragged game to the final two overs. Hasan Ali bowled a brilliant penultimate over; Pakistan once again chose Shaheen Shah Afridi to bowl the last over of the innings, where he had to defend 17 runs and he had given away only 14 runs which gave Pakistan 2 runs victory over New Zealand and Pakistan takes the lead is series by 1-0.
Player of the Match: Mohammad Hafeez gets best player of the match award, due to his brilliant batting and bowling when it matters.
Mohammad Hafeez: “Happy with the win. Lots of complications arrived when you modify the bowling action. I am trying my level best to play according to the situation and to gain momentum for the team. Momentum is very important in this format. Felt we were 10-15 runs short but the way we restricted them was brilliant.”
Pakistan 148 for 6 in 20.0 overs (Mohammad Hafeez 45, Sarfraz Ahmed 34; Adam Milne 28/2, Ish Sodhi 24/1)
Australia 146 for 6 in 20.0 overs (Colin Munro 58, Ross Taylor 42*; Hasan Ali 35/3, Shadab Khan 26/1, Imad Wasim 26/1)
Next Encounter: second T20 International at Dubai on 2nd November 2018.
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