Kiwis Crash to a Heavy Defeat against Pakistan in 3rd T20I
Pakistan’s T20 squad is certainly on a roll and it once again proved it tonight in Dubai.
The match was evenly poised with New Zealand 96-2 in the 13th over when Pakistan’s unmatchable wicket-taking ability, tilted the game in its favour in the most dramatic fashion, even by T20 standards. In claiming 8 wickets for 23 runs in just 4.3 overs, it inflicted a heavy 47-run defeat upon the Kiwis and indeed a whitewash. It was an awful crashing of New Zealand batting, completely helpless and clueless.
Having already won the series, Pakistan included Usman Khan and handed an international cap to Waqas Maqsood on his 31st birthday - at the expense of two match-winning pacemen, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi. Sitting comfortable with 8 successiveT20I wins, Pakistan could afford to bring the bench players from its 15-man squad. Opting to bat first Pakistan’s score of 33-1 off 6 overs in the Powerplay stage was due to Fakhar Zaman’s scratchy form and very tight line and fuller length by New Zealand bowlers, Tim Southee and Seth Rance.
After a quite start, Babar Azam, did unleash his range of strokes, both ground and ariel. He had started the match, aiming a world record of 1000 T20I runs in fewest innings. He did so in his 26th innings, thus beating the record set by India’s Virat Kohli, by just one innings. In scoring 79 off 58 balls with 7 fours and 2 successive sixes off Colin Munro in the 15th over, Man of the Match Babar had given Pakistan a solid start as his 2nd wicket stand with Mohammad Hafeez, was worth 94 in 10.4 overs. Whilst the partnership was blossoming, a total of 180 looked possible but New Zealand refused to give in and pulled it back to keep the score to 166 for 3 off 20 overs. Hafeez, once again, found his timing and his unbeaten 53 came off just 34 balls with 4 fours and two successive sixes of Ish Sodhi in the 11th over. He did not take any undue risk as 54 runs were scored in the last 5 overs of Pakistan innings.
New Zealand were dealt with a heavy blow when the hard-hitting Munro was clean bowled by Faheem Ashraf, in the second over. 21-year old South African-born opening batsman Glenn Philips in union with skipper Kane Williamson, steadily built a third-wicket stand which featured timely boundaries. Having added 83 runs in 9 overs, it was gradually taking control of the game, not knowing disaster was just around the corner in the form of Shadab Khan. The leg-spinner’s first two overs were expensive but his ability to come good when needed has been so vital for Pakistan’s present run of success. In his 3rd over he claimed two well set batsmen – Williamson (60 off 38 balls, 8 fours, 2 sixes) and Philips (26) – and followed it by sending back Ross Taylor, caught at the wicket for 7 in his last over. His full quota bowled in one spell yielding 3-30- was an excellent return, taking him to the top of the table with 28 wickets in T20I’s in 2018.
The last two wickets were claimed by debutante, Waqas Maqsood, a left-arm paceman, who got the selectors’ nod after showing good form with Faisalabad and WAPDA in Pakistan’s domestic season and following that up with an impressive showing for Pakistan A. He came on to bowl the 8th over but after conceding 15 runs (3 fours), was taken off by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, to return to bowl the 17th over. He sent back two tail-enders to help bowl out New Zealand for 119 in 16.5 overs.
Pakistan - Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Usman Shinwari, Waqas Maqsood
New Zealand - Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Kane Williamson(c), Colin de Grandhomme, Mark Chapman, Ross Taylor, Tim Seifert(wk), Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Seth Rance
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