Pakistan broke their 12-match losing streak against New Zealand in ODI cricket as they beat Kane Williamson‘s men by six-wickets to secure a comprehensive win in the second match of the series in Abu Dhabi.
Williamson won the toss and elected to bat first with the visitors being restricted to 209-9 in their 50 overs by the men in green. In reply, Sarfraz Ahmed‘s men notched up the target with almost 10 overs to spare as they stormed back to tie the three-match series at 1-1.
At the end of a crushing win for Pakistan, we look at the key talking points from Abu Dhabi.
AFRIDI AND SPINNERS STRANGLE KIWIS
New Zealand’s innings never quite got going. The Blackcaps were put on the back foot from the second over itself with Shaheen Afridi getting the big wicket of Colin Munro. The Pakistan teenager then delivered another crucial blow, this time with the tip of his fingers to run-out Williamson at the non-striker’s end off his own bowling.
When he shattered the stumps of Tom Latham with a searing yorker, Afridi had reduced the Kiwis to 73-4. From then on, Pakistan’s spinners in Shadab Khan, Mohammad Hafeez and Imad Wasim took control and the rate of scoring slowed down drastically.
Bereft of any momentum, New Zealand continued to stutter by losing wickets at crucial intervals before Afridi came back at the death to pick up one more wicket in the form of Ish Sodhi.
It was the second four-wicket haul on the bounce for the young left-armed pacer and it ensured that the Kiwis only just crept past the 200-run mark.
ROSS TAYLOR WAGES LONE BATTLE
While New Zealand kept losing wickets at the other end, one man ensured that they did not fade away completely under the pressure induced by Pakistan’s bowlers. That man was Ross Taylor who made full use of his experience to keep one end up for the Blackcaps with an innings filled with grit and doggedness.
It was not the prettiest knock by any means from the right-hander neither was it one of complete control. Scratchy as it might have been, Taylor’s defiant innings on a slow Abu Dhabi track helped the tourists post a challenging total.
Though he kept losing partners at the other end, Taylor continued to march on with determination and remained unbeaten on 86. A major problem for the Blackcaps was that the well-set batsman was denied strike for a large part of the final 10 overs. Taylor faced only 22 deliveries out of the final 60 and that proved to be the difference ultimately as New Zealand fell at least 30 runs shy of a par total at Abu Dhabi.
IMAM-UL-HAQ INJURY MARS COMFORTABLE CHASE FOR PAKISTAN
New Zealand’s inability to lift off with the bat in the death overs came back to bite them hard with Pakistan’s batsmen coasting towards the 210-run target. Openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq put on a half-century stand for the opening wicket before the latter was struck on the grill by a vicious bouncer from Lockie Ferguson.
The left-hander had to ultimately retire hurt after showing signs of concussion and was rushed to the hospital for further scans. Imam’s injury was the only sour note in Pakistan’s chase with Fakhar and Babar Azam setting up a comfortable win with a century stand between them while the latter narrowly missed out on his maiden ODI ton in Asia. Both batsmen fell to Ferguson in quick succession with Shoaib Malik falling prey to the New Zealander’s express pace as well.
Ferguson’s three-wicket burst was the only bright spark in his side’s bowling just like Taylor’s innings had been in the batting department. It was not enough to stop the Pakistan juggernaut in the end as Sarfraz Ahmed’s men cantered towards the 210-run target.
The men in green restricted the visitors to 209-9 in their 50 overs before their batsmen set up a comfortable chase to win with almost 10 overs to spare.
One of the chief architects of Pakistan’s big win on Friday was young pacer Shaheen Afridi who finished with figures of 4-38. Here, we take a closer look at the 18-year-old’s stellar bowling display.
OVERS BOWLED: 9
RUNS CONCEDED: 38
Sharing the new-ball duties along with Faheem Ashraf, Afridi started his spell with the big wicket of Colin Munro in his very first over after being hit for a big six off his previous delivery. In his next over, Afridi played a crucial part in proceedings as New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was run-out at the non-striker’s end off his bowling.
In his second spell, the teenager castled the dangerous Tom Latham with a searing in-swinging yorker before also accounting for Ish Sodhi in similar fashion in the death overs with a slow off-cutter.
The youngster got the ball to move away from the left-handers in the early part of his spell and showed remarkable composure to come back and dismiss the in-form Munro after being swatted for a six. When the movement died down, Afridi made sure to attack the stumps and that paid dividends in the form of two batsmen being bowled. In the death overs, the youngster mixed things up nicely with some subtle variations like off-cutters which helped him snare the wicket of Sodhi.
His pinpoint yorker with a hint of late movement to uproot Latham’s stumps was reminiscent of a certain Wasim Akram in full flight.
While he did generate some movement with the new ball, there were times that Afridi was wayward with his lines, allowing the batsmen too much room to free their arms. Other than that, the left-armer was generally spot on with his application. Despite leaking a couple of boundaries initially, Afridi managed to keep things tight with his economy-rate too.
VERDICT – 9/10
For the second match in a row, Afridi has delivered for his skipper with a four-wicket haul. The youngster was the best of Pakistan’s bowlers on the night and continues to grow in stature in international cricket despite his age. The ODI series has just been a continuation of Afridi’s sterling displays in the three T20s as he continues to show confidence and maturity that belies his age.
The only grievance is that Sarfraz Ahmed has refrained from letting him complete his quota of 10 overs in both ODIs so far despite Afridi being Pakistan’s best bowler.
Still, if Afridi keeps up these impressive displays, a bright future awaits the young pacer as well as Pakistan.
The wily leg-spinner will be turning out for Durban Heat in the competition which gets underway on November 16. Ranked as the No1 bowler in the T20I format, the Afghan man cannot wait to get started for his new franchise in what will be his first playing experience on South African soil.
“I am so excited to be playing in the first edition of the Mzansi Super League. I have never played cricket in South Africa before and I have only heard great things,” the 20-year-old was quoted as saying by Cricket365.
“It is going to be a new environment for me but I think that my experience of playing in different conditions will enable me to adapt to the situation and conditions,” he added.
The Afghan sensation will link up with Proteas stalwarts Hashim Amla and David Miller for Durban Heat and the wrist-spinner is eager to make the most of his time along with the experienced stars.
We are excited, and a little bowled over, to have @rashidkhan_19, one of the best T20 Bowlers around, join our team for the inaugural @MSL_T20 taking place soon!💥— Durban Heat (@durban_heat) November 9, 2018
As you can hear from his warm greeting in isiZulu, he's already one of us! 🗣#MSLT20 #HeatUp 🔥 pic.twitter.com/lI0RBaNqw4
“The beauty of T20 franchise cricket is the world-class players that you play with and against,” he said.
“To be playing with the likes of Hashim (Amla) and David (Miller) is great and I look forward to joining up with them and the rest of the team.”
Having enjoyed success in almost every single franchise league he has played for, Rashid is ready to adapt and deliver for his latest outfit.
“I’ve got to number one by sticking to my game plan and that is what I will always do,” he stated.
“T20 is a game that can change very quickly and not every game is going to go your way, and I will just do my best to try and win matches for my team.”
Rashid’s side will be in action for the first time on November 18 when they take on Cape Town Blitz at the Kingsmead stadium in Durban.