About the Match
New Zealand continued to dominate Pakistan as they took a 1-0 lead in the 3-match T20 series; the two teams take on each other in the 2nd T20 at Auckland on 25th January. On a tough wicket, the Kiwis kept their cool after losing early wickets and chased down 106 runs in less than 16 overs. The visitors have been struggling to get an edge over the hosts right through the ODIs and they will try to fight hard to make a comeback here to keep the series alive. New Zealand is flying high in morale and could prove to be a tough nut to crack by the Pakistani pace; it needs to be seen if the men in green can register a much-needed win on Thursday.
Colin Munro posted a well-made 49 off 43 during the chase for 106 in the first T20 match after Martin Guptill and Glenn Phillips got dismissed for single digits by pacer Rumman Raees. Tom Bruce and Ross Taylor kept the scoreboard ticking, contributing with 26 and 22 runs respectively. They won the match by 7 wickets with 25 balls to spare. The batting line-up consists of in-form batsmen like Gutpill, Phillips, Grandhomme, Munro and Taylor, who could come out all guns blazing here to win the series.
The bowlers had earlier provided regular breakthroughs as speedsters Tim Southee and Seth Rance took 3 wickets each in an economical manner to stifle the visitors. Spinner Mitchell Santner took 2-15 while all-rounder spinner Anaru Kitchen provided one breakthrough. Southee, who has been consistently taking wickets recently was the most economical with a figure of 3-13 and could lead the attack again.
The Kiwis are on a winning roll and would leave no stone unturned to keep the momentum going; they have plenty of match-winners with bat and ball, who could help them dominate on Thursday.
Babar Azam was the lone fighter in the first T20, posting a well-made run-a-ball 41 but with almost the entire top and middle-order wiped out by the 10th over, his efforts went in vain and they succumbed to 105 all-out batting first. Hasan Ali tried to pitch in by scoring a quickfire 23 off 12 but it wasn’t enough to get them to a respectable total. Pacer Rumman Raees took 2 wickets later while spinner Shadab Khan provided one breakthrough, but they lost the match by 7 wickets by the 16th over.
The bowling unit consists of fast-bowlers like Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees and Mohammad Amir while spinners like Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz could pull out some tricks to help their side contain the hosts. The batsmen have put up a dismal show till now barring some good nicks occasionally; they will have to pull up their socks and do better here if they want to stay alive.
With experienced players like Sarfraz Ahmed, Haris Sohail and all-rounders like Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali, the visitors could try to pull off a win here in this do or die match.
New Zealand leads the series 1-0 after a thrilling win in the first match; the players will be motivated to register another clean sweep victory by winning the upcoming contest. Although Pakistan has good resources with bat and ball, we feel that the Kiwis are better placed to become victors again.