The conclusion to the Attention demanding New Zealand-Pakistan series has certainly proven itself to be a breath of hope for the Sarfraz 11 who have marked the end of the tour with a T-20 win of 2-1. The series has truly been a hard one and easier said than done.
Pakistan won the toss and chose to defend their side first by standing before the stumps, just like the last T20. Ahmed Shehzad banged a relatively positive beginning than the last game, by gracefully tackling the ball. He pulled plenty of smooth on-drives as well as cover drives timed on Tim Southee’s balls. Shehzad was removed from the pitch by Colin de Grandhomme in the fourth hour; giving life to NZ’s bowling and slowing down the run rate for Pakistan.
Fakhar Zaman was next to hold the bat for Pakistan. He kept the pulse of the green shirts ticking but the controlled New Zealand bowling did not let the runs swell prompt, at least for the first few overs. The best part in keeping the run toll of Pakistan down was played by Santner. The middle order, however, made the best out of the limping NZs, making 58 runs in the last four hours not paying attention to Southee and Boult struggling their best to contain the runs below or at 181. Pakistan, therefore, drew a line to their side of the T-20 game with a total of 180 runs.
A similar trend of success was seen in the 2nd part of the innings. NZ took maximum advantage of the conditions, with Martin Guptill making 59 off 43 deliveries. The complementary opener Williamson remained fruitless in providing NZ the thrust they needed. He was caught on his 14th struggling-ball adding a score of only 9 more to his account.
Subsequent to the powerplay were the three overs that gave a final death blow to NZ turning the winds in Pakistan’s favor. These overs could only witness a success of 7 runs, with Guptill’s mired performance. The required rate was dragged to 12 with the black caps wanting Guptill’s barrage and the brand striking capacity of the NZ anxiously. Shadab Khan concluded just more to NZ’s deadbeat with his unpredictable line and length.
Shadab Khan stood as the man of the match, after taking 2 wickets off 19 runs. New Zealand only succeeded in making 163 for a loss of 6 wickets while the green shirts batting first made 181 for 6 wickets. The Prominent Pakistani batsmen were Zaman (with a score of 46) and Sarfarz (with a score of 29).
A perfect ending to a sinking series:
Pakistan ended the series with an upright strut, bringing a rosy end to the bumpy enough, roller coaster series. By notching up a win for 18 runs and clutching the world No. 1 place in the T-20 format in an “All is well that ends well!” manner.