Beat New Zealand to Open Confident Start to Pakistan’s Campaign
Mohammad Talha had been impressive during the Asia Cup and it didn’t take him long to get into his groove here. In the second over of the game he dismissed Kane Williamson as the batsman hit uppishly to mid-on where Bilawal Bhatti took the catch. Brendon McCullum, perhaps New Zealand’s premier batsman, demonstrated his form by pulling his 3rd ball into the stands for six, and Martin Guptill followed it up with a maximum of his own, not long after.
Talha struck again though, this time trapping Guptill LBW to what appeared to be a bad decision from the umpire. Spin was introduced in the form of Zulfiqar Babar in the 5th over, but McCullum dispatched his first ball over long-on fir six. Saeed Ajmal and Babar combined to keep the batsmen quiet for the next few overs, before McCullum broke the shackles with another six, this time over extra cover. Ross Taylor tried to up the temp also but only succeeded in giving Bhatti his second catch of the innings.
McCullum and Munro helped steady the ship for New Zealand, but just as they looked to set a platform, Munro was caught as mid-wicket off Bhatti and then Umar Gul took the big wicket of the dangerous Corey Anderson, bowling him out with a full straight delivery. Luke Ronchi then hit Gul for two fours before the bowler got his revenge, hitting the stumps once again.
Neesham, Nathan McCullum and Tim Southee all fell cheaply but Brendon McCullum continued on his merry way, reaching his 50 with a boundary over mid-wicket and he finished unbeaten on 59 off 45 balls, carrying New Zealand to 145/9 from 20 overs.
The pair found the the boundary regularly with ease, with the New Zealand spinners in particular bearing the brunt of the treatment. Hafeez also pulled out a lap sweep for 6 off Neesham and Corey Anderson wasn’t spared either, as Akmal managed a gorgeous inside-out shot over cover for six. 16 were taken off the 13th over bowled by Ronnie Hira and 15 more from the 15th over as Pakistan raced towards the target. Akmal retired on 52 off 45 balls to give the others some time in the middle, before Hafeez was caught on the boundary for 55 off 39.
Umar Akmal was bowled for 3 but Sohaib Maqsood hit three boundaries to get Pakistan over the line with one ball to spare.