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Black Caps’ Boult from the blue - 1st ODI against Pakistan goes to New Zealand

Trent Boult hat trick floors Pakistan

In claiming only the third ODI hat-trick by a New Zealander, fast bowler Trent Boult reduced Pakistan to 8-3 in the 3rd over. After such a calamity, it would have needed a super human effort for a side to come back into the match, whilst chasing a target of 267.

By sending back Fakhar Zaman (bowled), Babar Azam (caught at wide slip) and Mohammad Hafeez (leg-before), Boult had broken the back of Pakistan batting, for all three batsmen are match-winners. After steadying the ship with plenty of common sense, both Imam-ul-Haq (34) and Shoaib Malik (30) threw away their wickets, one after the other, to leave their side in a perilous situation.

A determined pair of captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Imad Wasim came together in the 23rd over with Pakistan reeling at 85-6 and facing a heavy defeat. The 7th wicket partnership between Sarfraz and Imad gradually got the side back on track and gave it an outside chance of a victory; needing 153 runs in the last 20 overs and finally 86 runs in the last 10 overs. Sarfraz, in good touch lately rarely missed an opportunity to score and had reached 64 off 69 balls, when he was prized out by Colin de Grandhomme of a fuller length delivery which he played on, in attempt to play it square off the wicket. The 103-run stand that occupied 18.5 overs represented a great fight but the captain’s dismissal of the last ball of the 41st over, finished his team. Imad got to his 50 but the asking rate was 12 runs per over and soon it was all over. Pakistan was bowled out for 219 in 47.2 overs to give New Zealand a 47-run win.

New Zealand, choosing to bat first in a day-night match in Abu Dhabi after the dismissal of Captain Kane Williamson were wobbling at 78-3 in the 17th over. The experienced Ross Taylor, despite having given up the captaincy in December 2012, still remains hungry to perform at the highest level. So often the saviour of Black Caps, he played a smart innings of 80 off 112 balls with five fours in his 130-run 4th wicket stand with wicket-keeper, Tom Latham, whose 68 came off just 64 balls. Strike rotation was the key to their stand and at 208 for 3 in the 42nd over the total seemed to be heading beyond 300. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan, though had other ideas, as he claimed 3 wickets in 4 balls and before long New Zealand were 210-7. With Hasan Ali, proving quite expensive in the death overs, tail-enders Tim Southee and Ish Sodhi, added 42 crucial runs in just 6 overs to lift their side’s total to 266-9. Both Shadab (4-38) and Shaheen Afridi (4-46), pegged back the opposition with timely strikes but were upstaged by Boult’s hat-trick that won him Man of the Match award.

New Zealand-Pakistan ODI rivalry dates back to February 1973, when the two teams contested a one-off 40 eight-ball overs match in Christchurch. The frequency of limited overs at international level really took off much later and it was not until 1984-85 that the two teams included an ODI series in its touring schedule. The recent history is in Black Caps’ favour, no longer the whipping boys and not having lost an ODI series against Pakistan since 2011. The 2018-19 winter is in full swing now with ten leading Test nations engaged in international cricket. It is quite surprising, in the modern day and age, for New Zealand to have had a 7-momth break prior to arriving in UAE, and now despite the absence of Martin Guptill and all-rounder Corey Anderson, have done well to go one up in the three-match series.

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