All-round New Zealand swat aside Pakistan for big win

Finn Allen (62 off 42) and Michael Bracewell (2 for 11) – who recently earned their maiden call-up for the T20 World Cup – led the way in New Zealand’s thumping nine-wicket victory over Pakistan at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi picked wickets too as Pakistan struggled against spin and finished on a lowly 130 for 7. Allen and Devon Conway smashed 117 of those for the first wicket.

Bracewell finished with 2 for 11 in 4 overs. How?

The off-spinner began to put the squeeze on Pakistan from the PowerPlay stage at a venue with bigger square boundaries compared to others in the country. The conditions were such that the ball was stopping a bit on the pitch and made strokeplay tough. Bracewell bowled slightly shorter lengths to invite the Pakistan openers to give him the charge and Rizwan fell for the ruse. Kane Williamson had James Neesham at mid-on who ran back and completed the catch in the fifth over. After giving away just six runs in two overs in the PowerPlay, he returned in the 11th to straightaway dismiss Babar Azam for a scratchy 21 off 23. His four-over spell included 16 dots and not a single boundary.

Did Pakistan’s middle-order stand up?

Not quite. The issue of a soft middle-order persists for Azam’s team as Pakistan went from 54 for 2 in the 11th over to 77 for 5 in the 14th with none of Shan Masood, Shadab Khan and Haider Ali offering solidity.

How did Pakistan even get past 100?

Thanks to a sixth-wicket partnership worth 51 runs – off 29 deliveries – between Iftikhar Ahmed and Asif Ali.

New Zealand blaze away…

Allen and Conway batted like the pitch had nothing for the bowlers as they amassed 57 in the PowerPlay, including a 13-run over off Naseem Shah, 12 off Shahnawaz Dahani and 11 off Mohammad Wasim. Azam’s hopes in his spinners to take cue from their New Zealand counterparts and make breakthroughs didn’t materialise as Allen and Conway went after them too. In the 10th over, Allen brought up his half-century off 31 balls.

When Shadab Khan had him stumped in the 14th over, the opener had 62 off just 42 balls with one four and six sixes to his name. More importantly, New Zealand were within touching distance of a victory as they were at 117 for 1.Three overs later, Kane Williamson got the winning runs to earn New Zealand’s second win of the triseries.

Brief Scores

Pakistan 130/7 in 20 overs (Asif Ali 25; Michael Bracwell 2-11, Mitchell Santner 2-27) lost to New Zealand 131/1 in 16.1 overs (Finn Allen 62, Devon Conway 49*) by 9 wickets

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