The T20 World Cup this year has not been easy to predict and today’s game between Pakistan and New Zealand has been no different. Pakistan have always been a hard team to beat for the Black Caps and they did not find it easy to take a victory from this game as well at Mohali.
Pakistan looked like they would run away with the game half way into the second innings but the Black Caps held onto their nerves well to see the men in green as their batting debacles continue to haunt them.
With this victory, New Zealand keep their undefeated record in the WT20 2016 alive. Here are the turning points from this game at Mohali:
- Martin Guptill launches into Pakistan:
The New Zealand opener took just 5 balls to settle in and launched into Mohammad Irfan’s bowling as he took 13 runs from the second over. He went on to score at a brisk rate for the rest of the game till he was at the wicket and scored 81 from just 48 balls in a superb innings that helped his side set up a target of 181 for Pakistan to chase. Though it looked a good batting pitch, Guptill’s innings meant that Pakistan also needed batsmen to equal his feat in the second innings to chase down the target.
- Ross Taylor finishes off in style:
Though he started off slowly picking up singles that were on offer, Ross Taylor who is well known for his power hitting made sure that he stays on the crease till the final ball and made sure that he takes the total beyond Pakistan’s reach. His 36 from 23 balls was instrumental in the Black Caps reaching 180 on the night and his innings was a sure turning point in this game late in the first innings.
- Sharjeel Khan provides the perfect start:
With just more than 9 runs an over required right from the first ball, Pakistan needed to be confident and aggressive in their approach and their opener Sharjeel Khan set them off to a flying start. He took 15, 18 and 10 runs from three of the first five overs taking Pakistan’s score to 60 in that time. He looked comfortable playing the pace of the Black Caps and set the tone for the run chase for the Men in Green.
- New Zealand’s spinners too hot for Pakistan:
Ish Sodhi who picked up 4 wickets before this game and Mitchell Santner who got Rohit Sharma and Steve Smith in the last two games provided the perfect pull back for the Black Caps after Sharjeel’s flying start, as they needed some tight overs to pull back the scoring rate of the opposition. Sodhi ended with figures of 1-25 in 4 while the left arm ended his day with 2-29 in 4 overs. These 8 overs had a huge effect on the outcome of the game as the target slowly went out of reach for Pakistan in the middle overs.
- Late Afridi scare but ended by Sodhi:
Shahid Afridi came into the game with the required run rate hovering above 10 an over. However, he knows only one way of playing the game and it looked like his day until the leg-spinner got the better of him. Afridi blasted two boundaries and a six in his 19 run innings that seemed like getting Pakistan home but his eagerness to send every ball out of the boundary saw him hole out in the deep giving Sodhi his only wicket on the night and giving New Zealand an easier passage to victory.
This result now means that New Zealand who won three on the trot are all but through to the semi-final while Pakistan, yet to win a game in the tournament will find it hard to move into the next round.