Glenn Phillips stars as Kiwis pull off the decider in Karachi:
The last day of the tour began and players headed, for the nth time, to the National Bank Cricket Arena, Karachi. Both captains, Kane Williamson and Babar Azam, walked out for the toss and the hosts won the toss for the second time in the series. New Zealand opted for no-change in their Playing XI from the last match while Babar after announcing their decision to bat first told that the team had dropped Imam ul Haq and Naseem Shah for Shan Masood and Mohammad Hasnain.
The game started and Tim Southee was entrusted with the first over by his captain. A maiden first over with Fakhar Zaman on crease ended and Lockie Ferguson, the pace gun, was sent to take control from the other end. A single from Fakhar’s blade helped Pakistan get off the mark. The same single helped New Zealand get off the mark too as Shan Masood, on the very first ball he faced, was given out after the ball kissed Masood’s outside edge. Babar Azam, answering the early call, came striding in. A mid-on boundary by Fakhar off Ferguson rejuvenated the Karachi crowd. Southee too was hit for a beautiful boundary by the left hander and the end of 5 overs saw spin coming into the attack. Mitchell Santner rolled his arm over and Babar gifted him a behind the wicket four.
Next came Michael Bracewell to bowl and with him came the thing Pakistan fans and team dreaded the most, Babar Azam’s wicket. Babar was stumped by Tom Latham after he dashed down the track to play Bracewell, who drew the first blood of the day. A somber silence fell in the stands which were full of noise and zeal just a minute ago as Babar made his way back. Mohammad Rizwan came in next to join Fakhar in the middle amd immediately got off the mark, even swept Santner for a boundary towards his favourite area.
Fakhar and Rizwan tried to recover from Babar’s wicket loss as the power play was nearing its end. In the last over of power play, Fakhar Zaman cleared the boundary twice to make the run rate better. Ish Sodhi came after the powerplay to bring in more spin with him while Bracewell continued from the other end.
Fakhar Zaman, after his captain’s departure, started playing in a more responsible and composed way. 16 overs ended and Pakistan had 61 runs in their pocket with loss of 2 wickets.
Southee came back again in the 17th, just before drinks. Kane opted to use spin-pace combination and so Sodhi and Ferguson were allowed to bowl in tandem. Fakhar brought his fifty by pulling a Ferguson short ball for a four. Strike between both batters remained rotating and so the run rate became stable. Rizwan went for a sweep against Sodhi for the umpteenth time today and Fakhar looked comfortable batting against the pace. Pakistan were again back in the hunt as Fakhar and Rizwan were sailing the boat steadily now. Mitchell Santner was send in the 22nd as Kane Williamson chatted with the Umpires and a Rizwan sweep added 4 runs to the tally. Pakistan reached 100 in the same over and run rate was at 4.5.
26th over saw the partnership between the both saviours of Pakistan reaching 100 runs and Santher was pumped for a maximum over long on by Fakhar Zaman. Breaking the stand was very important but no option was working for Williamson.
Southee returned but Rizwan remained unfazed and struck him for beautiful cover drive. Sodhi’s next over gave Rizwan the remaining runs to reach his 50. Both batters were now very comfortably knocking the NZ bowlers around the ground.
With a sweep boundary off Sodhi by Rizwan, the run rate reached 5 Runs oer over. Ferguson was recalled but Rizwan showed no mercy and used his pace to hit him boundaries. 33 overs ended and Pakistan’s score was 174/2 and keeping the run rate in mind, a 300 total looked very easy. The partnership between both batters crossed the 150 runs mark soon.
34th over saw Sodhi’s googly beat Rizwan’s bat, who was waiting to hit a ramp, and landed on wickets to turn the light on the bails on. The wicket-keeper batter looked disappointed but he had to go. Pakistan’s 3rd fell for 175 runs. In came Haris Sohail.
Seeing the wicket fall, Williamson wanted to bag another so a spinner was recruited from the other end too. Bracewell came to bowl his 7th and Fakhar hit him for a four to reach 98 runs. In the very next over he reached his ton after a quick single and the stands erupted. The Pakistan skipper, standing at the balcony, was clapping with triumph in his eyes. The play began again as Fakhar had a job to do. However, Fakhar’s stay was to end soon as a run out by the substitute fielder, Henry Nicholls, hit the timbers bull’s eye at the bowler’s end. Agha Salman came in while Fakhar went back amidst cherrs from the crowd.
A few silent overs went by which made the scoring rate drop to a lick above five but a six to Santner over mid-wicket by Salman took it up again. Ferguson returned from the other side and a Haris Sohail four over mid off greeted him. In his very next over a 150kph bouncer struck Haris on the helmet but Haris stayed on to play after mandatory concussion test Another run out by the same substitute, Henry Nicholls, sent Haris Sohail back just a ball later.
Mohammad Nawaz was the next man in. A boundary less overs passed by but Santner’s last over was adorned with a four by Salman. 46 ended, with Pakistan standing at 240/5. Southee’s next over was the most eventful over of the match. A six by Nawaz to Southee was followed by the pacer’s revenge in the shape of a slower ball which knocked the stumps behind Nawaz. Usama Mir came in next and he, not taking a leaf out of his predecessor’s book, pulled Southee’s ball over for a six. Southee came to haunt him again by dismissing him the very next ball.
Few boundaries came in next overs and so did one wicket. The departure of Agha Salman, who missed out on his half century by just 5 runs, slowed down the flow of runs as it was all on the bowlers now. 50 overs ended and Pakistan had a total of 280 runs to defend in 50 overs.
NEW ZEALAND’S BATTING:
Teams returned to the field, however, Pakistan had two substitutes in place of Fakhar Zaman and Haris Sohail; the former of whom pulled his hamstring while the latter had neck pain after Ferguson’s bouncer hit him on the helmet.
Mohammad Hasnain was asked to bowl the first over and Pakistan’s first over wicket streak ended as the young pacer was unable to send any of the openers back in the first over.
Haris Rauf came from the other end. Haris’s economical overs were being thrown out of the window by Hasnain who was leaking runs in the form of boundaries. 7 overs ended and Babar decided to bring in spin while Mohammad Wasim joined him to complement him from the other end.
Wasim’s over brought glad tidings for Pakistan as the substitute Tayyab Tahir pulled off a Henry Nicholls while standing at covers. He threw the ball to hit the stumps directly at the batter’s end and Finn Allen had to take the walk back. Kane Williamson came in to join Devon Conway.
Nawaz’s next over started with an LBW appeal from the Pakistan side but Umpire did not look interested. Babar Azam did not bother to go upstairs. However, the replay showed later that the ball was definitely hitting the stumps. Powerplay ended and New Zealand had 44/1 infront of their name.
Salman, to everyone’s surprise, was sent before Usama Mur in the attack and he bowled with Nawaz on the other side. The leggie Usama Mir was sent soon but two boudaries in three balls made his over a little expensive. 19 overs saw the Kiwis reaching 101 while 180 runs still remained to be made.
Salman delivered magic in his next over and provided a breakthrough. Shan Masood at point took a brilliant low catch and Conway, just after reaching his 50, had to go back. Silent overs by the spinners went by but both batters kept rotating the strike. Wickets and boundaries did not come but pace returned in the 28th over while Salman replaced Nawaz as the 30 overs line started. Salman made an enthusiastic appeal on second bowl of his over but Umpire did not look impressed. The part time bowler convinced Babar Azam, who did not look impressed either, to go upstairs and so he did. However, the ball was missing the wickets by a great distance.Makimg Pakistan lose their first review.
Daryl Mitchell’s reverse swept shot, a few balls later, was caught by Usama Mir who helped Agha Salman get another one. Tom Latham walked in next and KW reached his 50. 31 overs ended and New Zealand were in need of 121 runs. Spinners from both sides came again. Another run out with the help of Wasim’s quick throw to Keeper Rizwan, who demolished the stumps, awarded Pakistan the big wicket of Kane Williamson.
Michael Bracewell came in Williamson’s place after being promoted up the order but he was sent back by Usama Mir as well after enduring a six from his blade. Usama’s legbreak made the ball hit Bracewell’s stumps.
Glenn Phillips was the new batter in, who got off the mark with a boundary. Phillips did not look back as he was talking in sixes. Two sixes in two consecutive overs quickly brought the asking rate down. Mohammad Wasim was brought into the attack to stop this blitz and so he struck the stumps of Latham. Mitchell Santner walked in next. The danger man GP was still on the crease and his aims to win the game were clear as a crystal. Babar brought Haris to tackle Phillips with pace but he remained unperturbed as he hit him for a six too. The game for next few of overs remained like this, Santner was trying his best to give strike back to Phillip who was thrashing Pakistan bowlers all over the ground. His strike rate was even more than 150 and Pakistan had no answer to him. Soon the all-rounder reached his first ever ODI fifty and Rizwan on the next ball dropped his catch behind the stumps to make things worse for Pakistan.
44 overs went by and the Kiwis were just 31 runs short off winning the trophy. A few overs by Spinners wete followed by the return of Fast bowlers and Hasnain came to bowl. His over added two more boundaries to New Zealand’s kitty. Nawaz bundled out Santner in his last over to flatten out things for Pakistan before pacers from both ends return. Ish Sodhi walked to the field. Mohammad Hasnain’s extra runs in the next over, depicting the pressure he was bowling under, further lowered the green team’s morale.
Wasim’s over brought the end of Ish Sodhi, who was dismissed for a naught and in came Tim Southee while only 2 runs were remaining to be scored. 48 overs ended and New Zealand were at 279/8. Hasnain’s another wide ball levelled the scores and finally Glenn Phillips took a single to get his side their first series win in Sub-continent after 2005. Pakistan players as well as fans were crestfallen as another home series defeat fell into their laps.