The White Ferns managed to lose five wickets in the space of six deliveries in the second T20I against their Pakistan counterparts at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium yet incredibly managed to come out on top.
Suzie Bates and her team took a 2-0 lead in the four-match T20I series courtesy of a 39-run run win on Thursday.
New Zealand’s momentous batting collapse came towards the tail of the innings after openers Bates and Sophie Devins had both struck half-centuries to put on a 116-run first-wicket stand in just 13.4 overs.
The Pakistan women however fought back brilliantly to restrict the opposition from coasting to a huge total with a batting collapse unlike any other.
The White Ferns were well on top at 136-3 going into the 18th over bowled by debutant Nashra Sandhu.
While the first ball of the over was played for a couple, Sandhu bowled Amy Sattherwaite of the second. The next two deliveries got two run-outs as Katey Marden and Maddy Green made their way back to the pavilion.
The spate of run-outs would not stop there and there would be another one in the final delivery of the over with Sam Curtis falling short of her crease this time.
151 is the target for Pakistan in the 2nd T20I.
Devine and Bates did the bulk of the work before Pakistan fought back well with the ball.
Run chase coming up – https://t.co/wE8VLhEoHG pic.twitter.com/13dVSwMlUL
— WHITE FERNS (@WHITE_FERNS) November 9, 2017
In the very next, Thamsyn Newton was stumped off the bowling of Sadia Yousuf to complete a stunning collapse encapsulating five-wickets in six deliveries.
New Zealand would ultimately end their innings at 150-8, a target which proved to be 39 runs too many for Bismah Maroof and her team.
Aliya Riaz at number five top-scored for Pakistan with a 22-ball 23 but her side was always behind after losing wickets in regular intervals.
The two teams will meet again for the third T20I at the same venue on November 12.
In an interview with Sky Sports Radio, the off-spinner said that the Aussies would themselves be targeting the opposition skipper Joe Root.
“I know every team that comes over here targets the captain and I have no doubt, all our bowlers, we will be targeting Joe Root,” he said.
The 29-year-old said that Steve Smith was the best batsman in the world and would be ready for whatever England had in store for him.
I am not surprised that they are going to target Steve Smith. But Smith is the best batsman in the world in my book. He is more than happy to take on that pressure. He has been exceptional for us the last few years and I expect no difference from Steve (in the Ashes).”
Talking about the hosts’ own plans for the English come the Ashes, Lyon said that they would look to exploit the visitors’ inexperience in the five Tests.
“We know England have a classy side, especially with Alastair Cook, Root, Stuart Broad and James Anderson. But there is some inexperience there so, hopefully, we can make them feel uncomfortable, put them under pressure and take 20 wickets. But anyone from one to 11, I don’t care. If they are English, I want to get them out,” the Aussie said.
The spinner was particularly delighted with pace spearhead Mitchell Starc’s recent exploits of claiming two hat-tricks in the same Sheffield Shield game and said that the entire bowling group had been buoyed by that display.
“Everyone calls him (Starc) The Mop now. He just cleans up the tail. That (Shield game) has really given us a lot of confidence, going into the Australian summer as a bowling group,” he remarked.
England were given another injury scare on Thursday ahead of the Ashes when pacer Jake Ball collapsed on the pitch and sprained his ankle during the warm-up match against Cricket Australia XI at the Adelaide Oval.
Ball lost his footing and turned his right ankle during his delivery stride while attempting to bowl the fourth ball in his fifth over of the day.
Joe Root’s men had been dealt a severe blow on Tuesday when another pacer, Steve Finn, was sent home following some serious knee damage.
Finn is scheduled to see a specialist in London to assess whether the Middlesex pacer would require surgery on his knee. Tom Curran, meanwhile, is scheduled to replace Finn and is expected join the touring party on Friday.
With their fast-bowling options fast dwindling, the visitors will be hoping that Ball’s injury is not threatening with the first Ashes Test looming large on the horizon.
All-rounder Moeen Ali is also nursing an injury after being troubled by soreness in his left side and was left out of England’s four-day match against the Cricket Australia XI.
England’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes meanwhile remains suspended with his replacement Finn now out of the tour himself.
The tourists ended day two at 5-0 after Cricket Australia had declared their first innings at 233-9 with openers Mark Stoneman and Alastair Cook successfully negotiating the five overs before the end of the day’s play.
Root’s men had earlier put on 293 runs in their first innings. England’s fielding coach Paul Collingwood also made an appearance as a substitute fielder on Thursday, albeit for one over only as England stretched their resources to the maximum.
The first Ashes Test is set to begin at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 23.