Pakistan beat New Zealand by 5 wickets with 8 balls to spare to complete another remarkable win. First, the bowlers restricted New Zealand to just 134 and then Malik and Asif Ali carried the weight and finished the job.
Rauf’s slower balls and the spin magic
Pakistan’s bowling once again came to their rescue. New Zealand began cautiously as the Pakistani bowlers hit dangerous lines and lengths. Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell did make 36 runs for the first wicket but Pakistan didn’t let them free their arms and finally, the quick bowling of Haris Rauf engulfed Martin Guptill. Then Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, and Shadab Khan kept it tight and Wasim extracted the wicket of Mitchell while Hafeez claimed promoted James Neesham way too early for New Zealand’s liking.
After a decent period that produced some boundaries for New Zealand, Kane Williamson committed a huge blunder and got ran out going for an unlikely single. Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, and Mitchell Santner couldn’t push the tempo and most of them struggled to get past even a run-a-ball courtesy of some sharp change-up deliveries by Haris Rauf who got great support from Shaheen Shah Afridi at the tail-end, restricting New Zealand to 134.
Experienced bowling of New Zealand and late rescue act of Asif and Malik
Pakistan didn’t have a terrible start but the team lacked tempo with Rizwan and Babar not able to get many runs early. Babar Azam fell at the score of 28 when veteran Tim Southee had him bowled off a slower delivery. Fakhar Zaman fell to Ish Sodhi unable to lift the tempo against some quality bowling. Hafeez got caught on a stunner by Conway, who took a catch on full-stretch. A frustrated Rizwan also got out LBW to Ish Sodhi after making 33 runs off 34 balls.
Imad Wasim got out to Boult trying to play an unconventional shot and that brought Asif Alif to the pitch. When he came to the crease, Pakistan needed 48 runs in 37 balls, he hit a four straightaway to bring the equation down. Shoaib Malik batted brilliantly and then Asif Ali took on the game, showing his six-hitting ability. With the equation in favor, Asif and Shoaib completed the chase with 8 balls to spare. Asif made 27 runs in just 12 balls while Shoaib played the anchor role, getting to 26 of 20. Pakistan’s Haris Rauf got the Player of the Match for his game-changing four wickets for 22 runs spell.