Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and elected to bat first. Pakistan’s skipper seems confident with the same ‘we have nothing to lose’ attitude that gave him success in Champions Trophy.
“Looks like a good batting track. Hope to put up a good score. Just told the boys to play their natural game, there’s no pressure on us. If we win two games, we’re No. 1 on the T20 rankings,” said Sarfraz Ahmed after the toss.
Kane Williamson, who missed the first game, told that he would have batted first too had he won the toss.
“We would’ve batted first too. Looks like a good batting track. Five bowlers: two left-arm pacers, two spinners. We don’t want to get too carried away with the size of the ground, we need to adapt,” the New Zealand Skipper said.
The new opening pair of Ahmed Shehzad and Fakhar Zaman gave Pakistan a respectable start by scoring at more than 8 runs per over in the first three overs.
The openers continued in their merry way and did not afraid of taking on the Kiwi bowlers. The right and left-hand combination of openers helped the cause. Moreover, there was the rotation of strike which was missing throughout the series from Pakistani batsmen.
The openers brought up the fifty-runs partnership in just the sixth over of the inning. New Zealand were under a pump for the first time on the tour.
Fakhar Zaman took on Mitchell Santner in his first over where he struck three 6’s that shot the scoring rate over 10 runs an over. Fakhar brought up his half-century in just 26 deliveries.
Ahmed Shehzad struck a beautiful six off Seth Rance, which was nothing as flat as it could. The right-handed batsman looked to replicate his act on the next delivery but found Colin de Grandhomme in the deep. He scored 44 runs off 34 deliveries on his comeback.
Just two deliveries after Shehzad’s departure, Fakhar Zaman also got out when he tried to pull the delivery of Grandhomme, but could only edge to deep fine-leg where Ish Sodhi made no mistake in grabbing it. He scored 50 off 28 balls.
Sarfraz Ahmed pushed himself up in the order as he batted at four in the game. Critiques were calling the skipper to change his batting order and promote himself in the top four at least if not an opener. Sarfraz joined hands with Babar Azam and looked to make the use of the solid platform set by the openers. The two raised their half-century partnership within five overs.
The two continued playing aggressive and did not spare any bowler of the hosts. Sarfraz was looking to play more glory shorts when he failed to middle one of Ben Wheeler that skied it and the catch was taken by Colin Munro. Sarfraz struck three 6’s and two 4’s for his 41 off 21 balls.
Faheem Ashraf was promoted in the order to further increase
the scoring rate, but he failed to do so as he got out on the first delivery he faced.
Babar Azam played a heroic inning of 50 not where he took Pakistan over the 200 mark and completed his half-century on the last delivery of the inning.
It was the first time that Pakistan put the Blackcaps under the pump on the ongoing tour.
New Zealand need 202 runs to clinch the series.
Martin Guptill and Colin Munro started off the proceedings for New Zealand, whereas, Mohammad Amir took the new ball.
Mohammad Amir gave almost nothing away in his first two deliveries, he bowled fast and on good lengths except one delivery that Guptill deposited in the crowd over point. The left-arm pacer bowled another quick full delivery to Munro that trapped him in front of the stumps. He could only manage 1 run.
Kane Williamson did not bother scorers as he chipped the first delivery he faced of Rumman Raees to Haris Sohail at mid-wicket, Haris dived to his left to take a screamer.
Tom Bruce replaced his skipper and looked to play aggressive from the world go. He was lucky to hit a six and a four off Faheem Ashraf as he was dropped by Rumman Raees on the third-man boundary, which went for the maximum. He ran out of luck when he hit a ball straight to Haris Sohail and gone for a single, the left-arm fielder hit the bull eye to give Pakistan their third breakthrough.
Martin Guptill did not look in the best of shapes, he failed to middle the ball properly during his 27-ball inning, where he could only manage 26 runs with the help of a six and a four, though the pitch looked batting paradise. He was removed Shadab Khan in his first over.
Glenn Phillips came out to bat in an extremely difficult situation when they needed at a rate of over 11 runs an over. He had no choice but to go all guns blazing, but he could not succeed in it. Faheem Ashraf removed him at a score of 5 and New Zealand were five down for 58.
New Zealand’s hard-hitting all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme seemed to be the last real threat for Pakistan. He struck a six off Shadab, but the young leggie came back on the next delivery, saw the batsman coming down the wicket and pulled the length, he was stumped by Sarfraz Ahmed.
On failure of hosts’ top order, their lower order answered the challenge and looked to put up a fight. Mitchell Santner and Ben Wheeler brought up their fifty partnership on just 34 deliveries.
Wheeler smoked a delivery of Hasan Ali for a boundary to which he replied with a delivery angling into the batsman that shattered the stumps. The top-ranked ODI bowler celebrated in his signature style. Wheeler played a brave knock of 30 runs off 20 balls.
Mitchell Santner played a gutsy inning of 37 off 28 deliveries whereas Ish Sodhi played scored 15 on 12 balls.
Faheem Ashraf eventually took three wickets in the inning, whereas, Mohammad Amir and Shadab Khan picked two. Hasan Ali and Rumman Raees struck once in the match.
Fakhar Zaman won the Man of the Match award for his fantastic half-century.
Pakistan won the game by 48 runs to level the three-match T20I series by 1-1.
Pakistan XI: Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Umer Amin, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Rumman Raees
New Zealand XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Tom Bruce, Glenn Phillips, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ben Wheeler, Ish Sodhi, Seth Rance, Trent Boult.