Pakistan hit back to claim 2-1 series win in the T20Is, No. 1 T20I ranking

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Ahson8, Jan 28, 2018.

Pakistan hit back to claim 2-1 series win in the T20Is, No. 1 T20I ranking

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Ahson8, Jan 28, 2018.

by Ahson Afzal
Jan 28, 2018 at 12:33 PM
  1. Ahson8

    Ahson8 Sultan of Swing

    Jun 9, 2012
    They may remember this as a difficult tour, but Pakistan have had the last laugh on it. In a high-pressure, series-deciding, tour-shaping, third and final T20I, Pakistan overpowered New Zealand, setting them a daunting 182 to win and then constricting them in the field. This might have shaped up to be the cracker this series hasn't yet had, but true to form, a close finish was never really on the cards. However, it was Sarfraz Ahmed's men who were responsible for that this time, showing the sort of form that, had it arrived a few games early, could have rendered this series a classic.

    Pakistan won the toss and batted first again, looking to maintain the template of the previous T20I game. They did get off to a similarly positive start, with Ahmed Shehzad timing the ball beautifully. A crisp on-drive followed by a glorious cover drive in the third over off Tim Southee set Pakistan on their way.

    But this was an improved New Zealand bowling performance, with Pakistan not able to cut loose in the way they did in Auckland. Colin de Grandhomme struck in the fourth over to remove Shehzad, and the run rate slowed. Fakhar Zaman kept Pakistan ticking, but at the halfway mark Pakistan were 72 for 2, largely due to a disciplined New Zealand that keeping them on a leash.

    Mitchell Santner was New Zealand's best bowling option, chipping in with two wickets and driving the run rate down. He took the all-important wicket of Zaman, who was controversially given out caught on the boundary, with several replays unable to deliver a conclusive verdict. A lovely flighted delivery took care of Sarfraz after he was beginning to look dangerous, and Pakistan were in danger of falling away.

    The turning point in the match, though, was Ish Sodhi's final over. Umar Amin took him to task, plundering the legspinner for three sixes in an over that brought 21. Even though he holed out to long-on off the last ball, the tempo for the death overs had been set.

    New Zealand became sloppy in the field and Pakistan's middle order took full advantage. Even as Kane Williamson brought Southee and Trent Boult back on to close out the innings, they couldn't keep Pakistan from surging above 180, with 58 runs conceded off the last four overs.

    The momentum carried through to the second innings, where New Zealand made a solid start without being allowed to take proper advantage of the Powerplay. Martin Guptill was in good touch, but Williamson, opening in the absence of the injured Colin Munro, couldn't help him get the start New Zealand required.

    Faheem Ashraf removed the captain with his first ball in the attack. Williamson looked to slash him over point, the shot carrying straight to the fielder to end a 14-ball struggle in which he had managed just 9.

    It was a quick three-over spell, just after the Powerplay, that, in hindsight, took the game out of New Zealand's hands once and for all. Seven runs came off the three overs as Guptill's momentum was stalled, and suddenly even rotating the strike became a challenge, even with the fielders pushed back. As perhaps anyone sitting through this series might have expected, Shadab Khan bowled two of them, showing immense control with his flight and pace, the batsmen unable to get a read of his length, or which way the ball would turn. The asking rate was suddenly pushing 12, and New Zealand's reliance on Guptill's explosiveness increased exponentially.

    New Zealand suddenly looked like they were lacking the power hitting that is such a hallmark of their game, and scoreboard pressure took its toll. Anaru Kitchen was dismissed after charging Shadab and hopelessly missing, leaving Sarfraz to execute a simple stumping. Guptill and de Grandhomme then fell within four balls of each other, each attempting big heaves that were neither on nor well timed.

    The final overs provided a pang of nostalgia as Ross Taylor unsheathed his slog sweep after years of disuse. The most optimistic home fans may even have momentarily dreamed of a miracle win as Taylor smashed three sixes in a 11-ball 25, but there was an ephemeral nature to the innings, and when he edged behind to Sarfraz off Mohammad Amir, New Zealand needed a steep 54 from 21 balls.

    From thereon, the game just went through the motions as Pakistan ended the series with a swagger. It may have been a difficult, at times an embarrassing tour for Pakistan. But an 18-run win to close it, a T20I series win and the world No. 1 ranking in the format is decent reward for a tour that may generally be regarded as a disappointment.
The author is a medical student and an avid fan of Pakistan cricket.
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Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Ahson8, Jan 28, 2018.

    1. chandtara

      chandtara Mr Cricistan

      Jun 18, 2011
      Fakhar Zaman the man for Pakistan

      New Zealand must be thankful the batting brilliance of Fakhar Zaman has appeared sporadically on this tour.

      Last night, he was again in his pomp opening for Pakistan on their way to 181 for six at Mt Maunganui in the deciding T20.

      Fakhar blazed 46 from 36 balls to underline his place as one of the premier limited overs openers in the game. What a shame no Pakistanis feature in the Indian Premier League auction.

      He was at his best driving with four boundaries, including one where Ish Sodhi's wrong 'un was identified and returned to sender. A slash through point and a pull for six off Colin de Grandhomme further accentuated his skill.

      The 27-year-old cuts a slight figure. He conjures up an image of a southpaw bantamweight - albeit a well-protected one - dancing on his side of a rectangular unroped ring. His feet shuffle in a manner of which the late Muhammad Ali would surely have approved.

      Seeing Fakhar carve the ball around the ground on his way to 82 not out from 86 balls was a treat in New Zealand's opening ODI win of the tour - after he made a century in the warm-up in Nelson.

      He was comfortable against the guile of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, the pace of Lockie Ferguson, and the flight of Mitchell Santner and Todd Astle.

      That looked no different last night with Sodhi and de Grandhomme added to the mix, especially after making 50 off 28 balls in the victory at Eden Park.

      New Zealand were lucky to dismiss him. Fakhar thrashed the fifth ball of Santner's third over beyond cover. Tom Bruce paced in from the rope, dived and came up with the ball in hand.

      Any of the packed Bay Oval embankment could have queued and scoffed a mussel fritter in the time it took for the television umpire Chris Brown to confirm the decision.

      The big screen replay went back and forth as though a DJ had it on turntables. Bruce, with hands on hips, looked non-plussed as he returned to his position, perhaps wondering if he was about to experience his own Martin Snedden Moment.

      Snedden took one of the greatest non-catches the world has seen when he nabbed Greg Chappell at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during "The Underarm" match of 1981.

      The umpires refused to give it out. Fortunately technology helped reach the right conclusion in this 2018 vintage.

      New Zealand deserved a break in fortune.

      Umpire Wayne Knights called a no-ball on Ish Sodhi in the seventh over which, presuming it was for overstepping, looked ill-advised. Babar Azam was caught by Southee at long off from the free hit.

      Fortunately New Zealand used their review wisely. An edge behind from the in-form Ahmed Shehzad was declared not out by umpire Shaun Haig at the end of the fourth over. Technology showed he had connected.

      Each of Pakistan's top six batsmen produced valuable runs. Outside Fakhar, the other five scored between 18 and 29, each at better than run-a-ball. The first five partnerships of 30, 36, 30, 17 and 33 reflected that.

      Mitchell Santner celebrated his maiden IPL selection - to the Chennai Super Kings for $107,000 - by taking the wickets of Fakhar and Sarfraz Ahmed (29 off 21 balls) to finish with two for 24.
    2. chandtara

      chandtara Mr Cricistan

      Jun 18, 2011
      PM lauds cricket team’s T20 show

      ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has appreciated the performance of national cricket team for reclaiming top ranking in Twenty20 Internationals following their 2-1 series victory in New Zealand on Sunday.

      After Pakistan recorded an 18-run victory in the third and decisive T20 against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui, the prime minister in a telephonic contact with captain Sarfraz Ahmed lauded the performance of the team which after Sunday’s win secured top spot in ICC T20 rankings.

      According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the prime minister while talking to Sarfraz said the team by achieving top position in world T20 rankings has made the entire nation feel proud.

      The credit of claiming top position goes to hard work of the team and that of its management, the prime minister said.

      Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb also hailed the performance of national team.

      APP adds: Meanwhile, cricket fans in Lahore took to the streets to celebrate Pakistan’s achievement.

      Hundreds of cricket fans thronged the busy Mall road, Liberty Market, Anarkali, Azadi Chowk and other areas of the city, carrying a special 70-foot long national flag.

      Former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed Sallu also felicitated the team. “The team played really well and Sarfraz led from the front,” he said.
    3. chandtara

      chandtara Mr Cricistan

      Jun 18, 2011
      The perfect marriage of Pakistan and T20Is

      It would be cumbersome to point out that nobody was predicting Pakistan will win the T20I series after they suffered a seven-wicket defeat in the first T20I — their sixth consecutive defeat at the hands of hosts New Zealand on the tour.

      Pakistan’s unpredictability is one of the constants in the world of cricket, to the point that they are predictably so. Discussing the same — either to exalt or to condemn — is now almost a repetitive exercise.

      And yet here they stand, the number one T20I side in the world. Surely then, there is at least some method to their madness. Or perhaps that is why they thrive so much in T20Is; the shortest format of the game is much more accommodating to their brand of lunacy.

      Pakistan were the only team to reach the semi-final of the World T20 in the first four editions. They won one out of those four. In one they were one shot away from claiming the title while in another it took arguably the greatest T20I innings ever to deny them the title; for more details, talk to Messrs Misbahul Haq and Michael Hussey.

      T20Is award not endurance but flash and in those conditions Pakistan thrive.

      Perhaps it has to do with the bowlers that Pakistan have had at their disposal. Three of the top four most successful T20I bowlers are from Pakistan. Shahid Afridi’s 97 wickets see him top that particular list, while Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal are joint third with 85 wickets apiece. Lasith Malinga’s 90 wickets have broken the Pakistan trio’s long-held stranglehold of the top three spots. All three were capable of winning matches on their own; put them in one team and you have a readymade recipe for success.

      Perhaps it is because Pakistan are more capable of producing all-consuming bursts of pure inspiration than any other team in the world. These bursts, by definition, last a frustratingly brief time. In the two longer formats, teams look to survive those bursts and then recover the resulting damages during the remaining course of the match. In T20Is, there isn’t enough time to do so. By the time the Pakistan whirlwind subsides, it’s often too late to pick up the pieces. And so it leaves behind a plethora of ruin in its path.

      Perhaps it is because the short nature of T20Is leaves teams with little time to do anything. Little time to think, lesser time to overthink and even lesser time to mess up due to overthinking. Pakistan cricket works best on instincts and in T20Is their instincts are unleashed to devastating effect.

      Perhaps it is because lapses in concentration in T20Is are not as badly punished as they are in Tests and even ODIs, where a dropped catch or a poor shot can be far more costly.

      Perhaps it is because T20I is much more similar to the kind of cricket Pakistanis grow up playing. The skills learned on the streets are just as applicable there as they are when playing a T20I at the Eden Park.

      In all likelihood, Pakistan’s success is a mixture of all those factors coming together at different points in the game to produce some of the most memorable moments the shortest format has so far seen.

      Pakistan have always been the bad boys of cricket; possessing neither a strong academic background nor the will to work particularly hard. Yet they are nobody’s fool. And on Sunday, they became the masters of the format so suited to them that it may as well have been tailored for them alone.
    4. chandtara

      chandtara Mr Cricistan

      Jun 18, 2011
      Pakistan reinforce their unpredictability

      Pakistan cannot change!

      This has become the most commonly used expression to describe Pakistan’s victories and defeats in all formats of cricket.

      The Sarfraz Ahmed-led side were thought to have started a new chapter in their cricketing history when they won the Champions Trophy last year. A new foreword was written which stated that the team is ready to grow: from a mercurial side, which would amaze and amuse audiences on their chosen days but also lose in the most impossible circumstances, to a more consistently performing unit.

      Congrats Pakistan on T20 series win against NZ & number 1 ranking in the ICC T20 world. Lots to learn from this tour though. Keep supporting team Pakistan. #PakistanZindabad

      — Babar Azam (@babarazam258) January 28, 2018

      Promises were made by the captain and the coach, future plans were discussed, strategies were outlined, but, maybe, Mickey Arthur and Sarfraz Ahmed forgot who they were talking about.

      History is witness to the fact that Pakistan have always been in the limelight when a bilateral series or an ICC tournament kicks off. Pundits scratch their heads more often than not to decide which Pakistan side will walk onto the pitch on any given day.

      Post-Champions Trophy, the Test team, which become a force to be reckoned with on their new home the UAE, lost 2-0 to Sri Lanka in the two-match series.

      This has been a tough tour but we have come out of it as the Number 1 T20I team . Thank you for all your support during the tough times. Now get ready for the Number one T20I team’s premier T20 league; @thePSLt20. #PakistanZindabad #Number1

      — Shadab Khan (@76Shadabkhan) January 28, 2018

      One can argue that the gulf created by the absence of veterans Misbahul Haq and Younus Khan was too hard to fill, but it didn’t point towards such desolation. However, in the ODIs, Pakistan thrashed Sri Lanka to reiterate their status as the champions.

      But when the same team visited New Zealand for a limited-overs tour at the start of January, everyone believed they were going to put up a good fight against the Kiwis, maybe in a lost cause, but there was hope in experts’ words and in the minds of country’s fans.

      But Pakistan cannot change!

      They were beaten down and out in the ODI series, with the Men in Green not even coming close to winning any encounter. The humiliation was too much. Questions were raised against the credibility of the young team who had recently brought home silverware.

      Success is measured by hard work, discipline and a will to win..You have proved that today by winning the series and becoming #No1 #T20 team in the world..Congrats Team Pakistan @realpcb take a bow! #NZvsPAK #PakistanZindabad .

      — waqar younis (@waqyounis99) January 28, 2018

      And when they went into the T20I series, once again, everyone wrote them off, and they made sure everyone stuck to their stance with a harrowing performance in the first shortest-format encounter.

      But everyone had again forgotten — Pakistan cannot change!

      Fakhar Zaman broke out of his cocoon and took on the Kiwi bowlers who thought they had slayed the monster. Sarfraz, after the chastening, remerged as the authoritative leader of the pack and was seen more animated than ever to spoil the Kiwis’ party. The surprising packages were also there, once again from youngsters, where Shadab Khan the leggie, Aamer Yamin the all-rounder, a returning Ahmad Shahzad, and batsmen Haris Sohail and Umar Amin played cameo roles in team’s victory.

      Thus, history and now evidence support the claim that Pakistan cannot change. You think they’ll fall, they’ll rise up better than ever. You vote in their favour and they’ll make sure you start questioning your choices.

      Like it or not , that’s how Pakistan cricket is , bouncing back after 5/0 ? Only Team Pakistan could . Take a bow @SarfarazA_54 and the team . No1 T20 Team . #NZvPAK

      — Muhammad Wasim (@MuhammadWasim77) January 28, 2018

      You cannot and should not expect consistency from Pakistan, because their volatile nature of play is what makes them one of the most interesting sights when they walk onto the cricket pitch — hardest to beat, easiest to down, both at the same time, but not predictable, never!
    5. chandtara

      chandtara Mr Cricistan

      Jun 18, 2011
      Rumman is delighted with Pakistan reclaiming the top T20i spot

      Rumman Raees seems satisfied with the team’s performance in T20i series against New Zealand and recapturing the first position in the ICC ranking.

      “I am happy that we got our top-spot back in T20i team ranking after defeating New Zealand,” told Rumman Raees on his return to Pakistan from New Zealand tour along with Sarfraz Ahmed.

      “We have put a good fight against them (New Zealand), they recently won against West Indies in the T20i series, so it is delightful,” he added.

      On the other hand, the skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed avoided any media interaction.

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