PAKISTAN VS NEW ZEALAND IN UAE, 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
Ross Taylor’s knock of 80 helped New Zealand finish with a competitive total © Getty
Ross Taylor and Tom Latham starred with a century stand, but Shadab Khan came back in to strike thrice in four balls to derail New Zealand’s innings, changing the whole complex of the opening one-dayer in Abu Dhabi. At one stage, New Zealand seemed set to post a total in the vicinity of 300 on Wednesday (November 7), but ended up with 266 for 9 instead.
The pair of Taylor and Latham added 130 runs for the fourth wicket in a stand that turned the momentum in their favour after the visitors had lost early wickets after opting to bat. The pitch was a tad better than the one that was on offer during the Asia Cup, and some exceptional running between the wickets between the left-hand-right-hand pair kept Pakistan on their toes. The batsmen converted the ones into twos and with the occasional boundary, had New Zealand’s run-rate increase steadily from the 20th over onwards.
Both reached their respective half-ceturies, having patiently seen off Pakistan’s spinners successfully as Sarfraz Ahmed seemed to be running out of ideas and going into a defensive shell. New Zealand were cruising with ten overs to play, placed comfortably at 199 for 3, looking to accelerate on their set platform towards the end. One Shadab over, however, turned the tables in Pakistan’s favour as New Zealand slipped to 210 for 7. Latham was first trapped leg-before, done in by flight for a brilliant 64-ball 68, Henry Nicholls was trapped lbw by a fuller one for a golden duck. Shadab was denied a hat-trick thanks to an inside edge that Colin de Grandhomme got, but he edged next ball to slip as the legspinner picked up three wickets in four balls. Taylor, who witnessed the carnage at the other end, failed to bring his bat down in time to be castled by Imad Wasim for 80 in the next over.
It seemed like New Zealand would fall well short of what their projected total would have been, but a cameo partnership from Ish Sodhi (24 off 19) and Tim Southee (20 off 21), adding 42 at a crucial stage took New Zealand over the 250-run mark, with 35 runs coming off the last three overs. Shadab, who constantly troubled New Zealand’s batsmen with his variations, finished with figures of 4 for 38, while Shaheen Afridi had 4 for 46 in eight.
Pakistan were a bit defensive to start off. A bit of bounce, coupled with a bit of movement did George Worker in early on, with Afridi bowling brilliant lengths and lines, while Hasan Ali was a bit all over the place, overpitching consistently. He couldn’t get his game right on the day, being taken apart for 62 runs in nine overs. Kane Williamson was New Zealand’s key man. With a Colin Munro, who still seemed to be in T20 mode, going after every delivery, instead of attempting to build a partnership, he had to keep his trademark calm. Munro was dropped by Babar in the slips when on 18, but couldn’t push on, being dismissed for 29. He reviewed a leg-before decision, which was a poor one in the end, after having been trapped plumb by Afridi.
Williamson and Taylor steadied the ship with a 42-run stand before Shadab struck in his opening over to get the skipper. Hafeez was first brought into the attack immediately to build pressure on the left-hander Latham. Taylor expressed concern regarding Mohammad Hafeez’s bowling action which led to a bit of anxious moments between the sides. The umpires had to intervene, as Sarfraz and Taylor were involved in a barrage of exchange of words. Hafeez bowled six overs for just 23 runs.
Taylor, scratchy at the start, settled in nicely to dominate the leg-side in his 112-ball 80 that comprised of just five fours – a reflection on the running between the wickets while at the crease with Latham. With the pitch not being the flattest and having the ball gripping in, 275 should have been par. New Zealand fell just short of that, but New Zealand’s bowlers will have to learn from Pakistan’s bowlers who were left wanting in altering their lengths effectively.
Brief scores: New Zealand 266/9 in 50 overs (Ross Taylor 80, Tom Latham 68; Shadab Khan 4-38, Shaheen Afridi 4-46) vs Pakistan.