New Zealand Triumphs in First T20I Against Pakistan

Photo of New Zealand cricket players celebrating their win over Pakistan in the first T201.

Daryl Mitchell and Kane Williamson’s quick half-centuries propelled New Zealand to a dominant 46-run triumph over Pakistan on January 12 in the opening match of the five-game Twenty20 Internationals series.

Mitchell aggressively scored 61 runs off 27 deliveries, closely followed by Williamson, who made 57 from 42 balls, contributing to New Zealand’s record-high total of 226 for eight after being elected to bat. This set a new milestone as the highest-ever total against Pakistan in a T20 international.

As long as Babar Azam held his ground, Pakistan remained competitive. However, once he was dismissed for 57 in the 16th over, the required run chase became insurmountable. The visitors were eventually bowled out for 180 in 18 overs, with Tim Southee securing four wickets for 25 runs, establishing him as the first bowler from any nation to reach 150 wickets in T20 Internationals.

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In challenging circumstances, Williamson secured his 18th half-century in T20s. Batting at the first-drop position, he joined the crease in only the third ball of the New Zealand innings after Devon Conway departed for a first-ball duck. Despite a lack of recent playing time due to his controlled return from a significant knee injury suffered in the Indian Premier League in April, Williamson demonstrated his resilience.

Early in the innings, Williamson played a supporting role to Finn Allen, who aggressively scored 35 runs from 15 balls at the top of the order. This included a remarkable second over against Pakistan captain Shaheen Shah Afridi, resulting in 24 runs with two sixes and three fours.

He initiated his innings cautiously, but following Allen’s exit, Williamson steadily gained momentum to achieve his half-century in 40 balls, incorporating eight boundaries. Twice, he managed to survive being dropped, first at nine by Babar off Abbas Afridi’s delivery, and later at 39 by Iftikhar Ahmed off Usama Mir.

Continuing the momentum from where Allen left, Williamson was succeeded by Mitchell, who quickened the pace of New Zealand’s innings and reached his half-century in a mere 22 balls. His score of 61 featured four powerful sixes down the ground.

Mitchell expressed contentment with the partnerships established, particularly with Kane and Glenn Phillips, laying the groundwork to exert pressure on the bowlers. Mitchell also commended the team’s outstanding bowling performance towards the end.

New Zealand amassed runs during the middle phase of their innings, accumulating 80 runs between the eighth and 14th overs. However, the team didn’t conclude as strongly as desired, with Glenn Phillips contributing 19 runs from 11 balls, and Mark Chapman adding 26 from 11 in the closing moments.

The absence of Mitch Santner, sidelined due to a last-minute positive coronavirus test, potentially left New Zealand short of a batter. On debut, Abbas Afridi concluded with three for 34.

Pakistan experienced an explosive start in their innings from Saim Ayub, scoring 27 runs from eight balls, featuring three sixes and two fours. Regrettably, Ayub was run out, falling prey to venturing too far from the crease.

Despite Mohammad Rizwan and Babar holding a strong position at 62 for one after five overs, Rizwan’s dismissal before the power play’s conclusion, caught by Conway off Tim Southee’s delivery, brought relief to New Zealand.

Ish Sodhi showcased a remarkable one-handed catch off his bowling to dismiss Fakhar Zaman, placing Pakistan at 109 for three after 10 overs, still maintaining their competitive position.

Babar and Iftikhar collaborated for a 40-run partnership for the fourth wicket, but Pakistan’s scoring rate began to fall behind that of New Zealand.

Despite being a crucial presence as Pakistan’s established batsman, Babar encountered effective containment strategies from New Zealand. The bowlers strategically opted for shorter deliveries to restrict his access to the straight boundaries at Eden Park.

At the conclusion of the 15th over, Pakistan’s score reached 159 for four, with 68 runs needed from 30 balls. The challenge heightened as Azam Kham and Shaheen Afridi fell to the first and third balls of the 16th over, delivered by Adam Milne.

Babar’s exit at the commencement of the 17th over signified the conclusion of Pakistan’s last hopes.


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