Few Pakistan fans said that Pakistan – New Zealand is a bigger game for them than the India-Pakistan clash. That’s a massive statement given the rivalry between the two arch-rivals. However, as a nation, Pakistan was upset by New Zealand’s decision to abandon Pakistan tour. They had an opportunity to seek revenge and what a statement they have made. The Men in Green picked up a comprehensive win to climb to the helm of the points table of Group B.
The bowlers breathed fire once again and dismantled the Kiwi batting line-up, restricting them to a paltry 134-8. Shaheen Afridi was the weaker in chief against India but today, it was Haris Rauf’s day. The fast bowler rattled the Kiwis with his sheer pace and clever variations, picking up four wickets in the process.
New Zealand did get off to a good start as the openers, Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell added 36 runs for the first wicket. Both the players got decent starts but couldn’t kick-on. Same was the case with skipper Williamson, who departed after getting to 25. Williamson’s wicket triggered a collage as no other batter could hang long enough at the wicket. With wickets tumbling at other end, Devon Conway couldn’t break free and eventually could score just 27 off 24 balls.
Given that Pakistan chased 151 with 10 wickets to spare in the last game, this 135 run chase was supposed to be a cakewalk. However, the Kiwi bowlers were not going to give away an easy win. The bowlers troubled the Pakistan batters and at one point restricted them to 69-4 in the 12th over. Imad Wasim also followed soon, at 87-5. With the run-rate going up and not much batting to follow, the match hung in balance. However, veteran Shoaib Malik along with youngster Asif Ali took Pakistan home. Malik played a composed knock of 26, while Asif Ali stroked a match-winning 27 off 12 balls. With this win, Pakistan’s chances of semi-final qualification have skyrocketed.