The Eden Park Stadium in Auckland witnessed a thrilling T20I clash between hosts New Zealand and Pakistan. In what some would consider as an upset considering the home side’s recent form, the Pakistanis managed to win the first T20I by 16 runs. The Kiwis led by Kane Williamson, put Pakistan in to bat and the visitors responded positively. Mohammad Hafeez was Pakistan’s mainstay with the bat as his knock of 61 included 8 fours and 2 sixes.
Skipper Shahid Afridi’s 8 ball 23 lower down the order proved to be the difference between the two teams. Afridi then had a great time with the ball as he grabbed two wickets to dent New Zealand’s run chase. The Pakistan skipper also bowled a decisive maiden over which added more pressure on the hosts.
In the post-match presentation, Afridi said that he was delighted with the win and praised his unit. “Mohammad Hafeez played an awesome innings, I must say it was a great team effort. We just arrived two days ago, we weren’t used to the pitch. We were confident of defending 171,” said Afridi. All-rounder, who was also the Man of the Match, also praised his pacers. “Must give credit to the fast bowlers, especially Umar Gul and Mohammad Amir, they came back after a long time and bowled tight.”
The flamboyant all-rounder also acknowledged his own contribution in the field and said, “Those two wickets I took were crucial.” “First two overs I didn’t bowl well didn’t bowl in the right areas, and there was something in the pitch for the spinners. That diving catch I took was amazing,” said Afridi.