Pakistan rout New Zealand to take lead
by Jinu Sabastian
DateLine: 12th November 2009
A depleted New Zealand side slumped to a 49 run defeat against Pakistan in the first T20 match. The top-order simply imploded in the face of some aggressive bowling from Aamer and Tanvir while Afridi brushed aside a fragile middle and lower-order. New Zealand sorely missed the calming influence of Vettori in the field and also while batting. The Kiwis allowed the Pakistanis to get away in the final overs as they went on to post a challenging total and after that, the Pakistani bowlers stifled the Kiwis to help their team take lead in the T20 series.
Brendon McCullum, standing in for the indisposed Vettori, did not think twice as he elected to bowl first against as explosive Pakistani batting line-up. Bond and Southee did not disappoint their captain as they bowled tidily in the first two overs with the former even managing to slip in a maiden. Akmal started off the scoring as he cover-drove Bond through covers and then trickling the next ball to fine-leg to collect consecutive boundaries. Taking the cue, Nazir walloped Southee through covers to set off a blistering assault. Akmal survived a chance when Butler running back failed to hold on to a skier. Nazir continued his assault as he thundered a dull Butler one over long-on and one over long-off to pose some serious questions to McCullum. Akmal tried to repeat Nazir’s shot-making abilities as he tried to clear mid-on but failed to do so and in the process lost his wicket.
Nazir continued to celebrate his return to the national colours as he took a likening to an unimaginative Butler who repeatedly provided freebies to the rampaging right-hander. Nazir smashed Butler right back over his head, pulled one over the keeper’s head and then capped off an expensive over by slicing the bowler over point leaving a helpless Butler to shake his head in despair. Umar Akmal failed to do much as he tried to slog sweep but could only top edge for the keeper to take a skier. Skipper Afridi joined a marauding Nazir in the middle and the two continued to torment New Zealand. The pair added 36 runs in 3.2 overs as the New Zealand who were quite discipline in the initial overs to fumble. Afridi and Nazir collected a couple sixes for themselves as McCullum was fast running out of options. Nazir completed an aggressive half century in just 34 balls and his innings of 58 was ended when he sliced a wide ball from Bond straight to third man.
The Pakistani innings lost their momentum in the middle as Afridi could not resist leg-spinners from Redmond and subsequently holed out to long-off where Southee took an excellent catch. Redmond continued his good time with the ball when he coaxed Malik to give him a return catch. Alam looked quite lost in the middle and when Bond ended his misery the Pakistani innings was wobbling at 134 for 6 in 17.4 overs. Razzaq and Tanvir then used the long handle to push the score past the 150 run mark and set Kiwis a stiff target of 162 in 20 overs.
For New Zealand Brendon McCullum replied with a choice hand of his own as he tore into Aamer and Tanvir with some blistering shots on both sides of the wicket. The New Zealanders were off to a flier as they scored 29 runs in two overs and from there-on they lost their way. Tanvir got the initial break-through when he got Guptill to edge one behind where keeper Akmal pulled off a spectacular catch while McCullum’s fierce cut was pouched by Alam at backward point.
Taylor after being involved in a horrendous mix-up with Styris flayed at a wide one from Aamer only to feather an edge to Akmal. New Zealand continued to slide further when Styris pulled a half-tracker from Razzaq straight to Umar Akmal at deep square-leg to leave the Kiwis gasping at 41 for 4 in 6.2 overs. Broom played a cheeky upper cut over third man for a six but that was the only moment of joy for the Kiwis as he could only manage to slice a wide one from Razzaq straight to third-man. The rest of the batsmen simply failed to get going as New Zealand folded up for meekly for 112 in 18.3 overs.