Twitter Reactions: Pakistan continue to impress with yet another brilliant show against New Zealand

Twitter Reactions: Pakistan continue to impress with yet another brilliant show against New Zealand

Malik showed off his experience along with Asif Ali and got the team over the line in a crucial chase after Haris Rauf shined with a four-wicket haul earlier.

Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik
Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Pakistan have made it two in two to get their T20 World Cup campaign off to a flier. After gunning down India, they have beaten New Zealand, in the end, comfortably with five wickets and more than one over in hand. It was a collective effort with the bat in the chase while the bowlers once again set it up for them earlier in the game.

Earlier, New Zealand huffed and puffed to 134 in their 20 overs with Pakistan raising their level of bowling performance a notch higher. The Kiwi openers Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell did well to not give any wicket to their premier pacer Shaheen Afridi early. But the scoring in the powerplay was always an issue. Haris Rauf then came into the attack and stood out as a bowler through the entire innings.

He got the first breakthrough for Pakistan castling Martin Guptill and soon Mitchell also walked back thanks to Imad Wasim’s accurate bowling. James Neesham came out to bat at four but was holed out in the deep while Kane Williamson looked classy during his stay in the middle only to get run-out. A partnership between him and Devon Conway was just flourishing then.

At 90/4 after Williamson’s dismissal, New Zealand didn’t go anywhere in the rest of the innings. Conway hung around for a bit but was unable to up the ante with Pakistan bowlers squeezing the runs. Haris Rauf came back to finish his spell in the death overs and continued his good work from the India game. He ended with the brilliant figures of 4/22 as the Kiwis were restricted to a low total.

Pakistan win despite New Zealand fighting till the end

After the way Pakistan chased down 152 against India, the 135-run chase shouldn’t have been a problem for them. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan seemed to have continued in the same vein after their heroics in the previous game. However, the Kiwis bowled well at them conceding only 28 runs in the first five overs. The pressure got to the Pakistan skipper as he missed a hoick off Tim Southee only to see his stumps shattered.

Fakhar Zaman struggled during his 17-ball stay for just 11 runs and that led to the required run-rate soaring. Rizwan was collecting run calmly at the other end but was pinned in front of the stumps by Ish Sodhi. Mohammad Hafeez also came and went in a flash and at 87/5, New Zealand had come back strongly in the game.

48 runs were needed off the last five overs and two players, Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik, whose selection was questioned ahead of the mega event. The duo showed their experience and worth playing some exceptional shots clearing the long boundaries with utter ease. Malik especially brought all his experience to work keeping calm despite the required rate closing in on 10.

Asif Ali was special as well experiencing probably some of the finest moments of his career in the Pakistan jersey. Despite things going close, Pakistan comfortably won the game in the end with five wickets and 8 balls to spare. They have now defeated two of the toughest teams in their group, India and New Zealand, to almost seal their place in the semis.

Here’s how Twitter reacted: