Twitter Reactions: Mohammad Hafeez's 99 in vain as New Zealand claim the series courtesy Tim Seifert's 84*

Twitter Reactions: Mohammad Hafeez’s 99 in vain as New Zealand claim the series courtesy Tim Seifert’s 84*

New Zealand sealed the game by 9 wickets and 4 balls to spare, thereby taking an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match series.

Tim Seifert and Kane Williamson
Tim Seifert and Kane Williamson. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

There was a series to be won for New Zealand, whereas there was one to save for the visiting party Pakistan. The result not falling their way after batting first in the first T20I did not deter skipper Shadab Khan to go ahead with the same choice after winning the toss at Seddon Park. Unlike the first clash, the Black Caps had the presence of many of their leading players in the side as Kane Williamson, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, and Trent Boult returned at the expense of Jacob Duffy, Blair Tickner, Mitchell Santner, and Daryl Mitchell.

It did not take too long for Tim Southee to push the visitors on the back foot as he struck twice in the first over his spell to get rid of Haider Ali and Abdullah Shafique. While he got Ali (8 from 4) caught at mid-off, Shafique (0 from 2) ended up popping a simple return catch to the bowler.

The third-wicket stand between both the Mohammads, Hafeez and Rizwan, lagged momentum as they added 17 in 22 before the latter edged off Jimmy Neesham to the keeper. Reduced to 56 for 4 as wickets tumbled from one end, Mohammad Hafeez stood as the lone warrior for his side. Riding on his luck, as he was dropped on 45, he notched up his half-century to keep Pakistan in the contest.

Along with Khushdil Shah, Hafeez added a crucial 63 from 46 for the fifth wicket, where he played the role of the aggressor. The stand was broken when Guptill took an easy catch as Shah (14 from 20) tried to slog Ish Sodhi. Making a quick move on towards the end of the innings, Hafeez – who finished with an unbeaten 99 from 52, featuring 10 fours and five sixes – added 30 from just 13 with Imad Wasim as Pakistan finished 163 for 6 after their 20 overs. Tim Southee shone with the ball for New Zealand picking four wickets.

New Zealand cruise to victory

Coming to the chase, Martin Guptill seemed in a hurry as he added 21 from 11, including a boundary and a couple of sixes. However, he failed to capitalize and holed out to Haris Rauf at midwicket while he was trying to smash Faheem Ashraf. Though the Pakistan bowlers bowled at disciplined lengths for the initial period, they lacked the bite to take more wickets.

Credit to even the batsmen, who ensured to not play any loose shots, and after a slightly quiet phase, Tim Seifert made a move by slamming three sixes to Wahab Riaz. From the other end, Kane Williamson kept playing in his usual fuss-free style and managed to get boundaries at regular intervals.

Playing risk-free cricket and handling the ball on merit, Williamson (57 from 42) and Siefert (84 from 63) piled a spectacular stand of 129 runs from just 97 deliveries as New Zealand sealed the game by 9 wickets and 4 balls to spare, thereby taking an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match series.

Here’s how Twitter reacted: