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NZ vs PAK, 1st T20I, Review: Change of format doesn’t change fortunes for Pakistan

New Zealand continued their winning run in the home season and now lead the three-match series by 1-0.

Pakistan 1st T20I | CricTracker.com
Mitchell Santner of New Zealand celebrates with Glenn Phillips after taking the wicket of Sarfraz Ahmed. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The format changed but not the performance or fortunes of Pakistan on the New Zealand tour. The humiliation at the hands of a formidable New Zealand side continued for them. It was all the repeat telecast of the ODI series with the batting of the visitors crumbling against the new ball and the bowlers trying hard to pull them back into the game. For the Kiwis though, it was another perfect outing despite their regular skipper Kane Williamson not being able to take the field due to stiff side.

The stand-in captain Tim Southee won the toss and opted to field first in the opening game of the three-match series at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. The Men in Green took some harsh decisions by leaving out the in-form Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad who had made his comeback into the squad on the back of some consistent batting the format. Umar Amin was tipped to open the side and Haris Sohail took the position of Shoaib Malik who flew back home after suffering due to the concussion in the fourth ODI.

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Another dismal performance

Fakhar Zaman and Amin opened the batting but failed to provide the quickfire start as both of them were dismissed with the score reading only 4. Surprisingly Mohammad Nawaz was promoted to number 3, the experiment which didn’t work out as Sohail also followed him to leave their side reeling at 22/4. The procession continued as Babar Azam was left stranded at the other end and Pakistan slumped further to 53/7 in the 14th over.

But then Hasan Ali came to the fore and clobbered three sixes to propel the score past 80 and was dismissed on 23 off just 12 deliveries in the 17th over. Babar was struggling until then but finished strongly by hitting a six and a four in the final over. He was the last man to be sent back and also only one of the two batsmen to reach the double figures. The visitors were bundled out only for 105 runs in the last over.

Southee and Seth Rance picked three wickets each conceding only 39 runs between them. Mitchell Santner was another wicket-taker who returned with the figures of 2/15 from his four overs.

Munro leads the chase

It was expected that New Zealand would gun down the chase with ease but the pitch was so unusual for a T20 International. At one stage they were struggling at 8/2 in the fourth over with Martin Guptill and Glenn Phillips back in the hut. It was Colin Munro and Tom Bruce who rebuilt the innings and calmed down the early butterflies in their stomach. Both added 49 for the third wicket before Shadab Khan scalped the latter with a clever delivery in the 11th over to rejuvenate his teammates once again.

But the writing was on the wall for them by then with Munro refusing to relent as he was joined in by the experienced Ross Taylor. The going was easy for them as the game was finished in the 16th over itself. While Munro missed his fourth consecutive half-century in the format by just 1 run, Taylor scored an enterprising 22 runs off just 13 balls with 3 boundaries to seal the game for his team by seven wickets.

New Zealand kept Pakistan winless on the tour and now lead the T20I series by 1-0. Rumman Raees and Mohammad Amir bowled with venom but apart from Shadab, no one could back them up after a great start. The former ended with the figures of 2/24 but in the losing cause. Munro was awarded Man of the Match for his calm knock with the bat.

The second game of the series will be played on January 25 at Eden Park in Auckland.

Brief Scores

Pakistan 105 after 19.4 overs (B Azam 41, H Ali 23; T Southee 3/13, S Rance 3/26)

New Zealand 106/3 after 15.5 overs (C Munro 49*, T Bruce 26; R Raees 2/24)

Result: New Zealand won by 7 wickets

Man of the Match: Colin Munro

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