Shahid Afridi’s heroics in van as New Zealand leave Pakistan frustrated

Hosts squander away another lead to split the spoils with the Kiwis in Dubai after having allowed them to level the Test series earlier.
Spinner Anton Devcich surprised by opening the bowling for New Zealand and picked up two wickets against Pakistan. Aamir Qureshi / AFP
Spinner Anton Devcich surprised by opening the bowling for New Zealand and picked up two wickets against Pakistan. Aamir Qureshi / AFP

DUBAI // Forced to share the honours in the Tests, Pakistan were denied in the Twenty20 series as well by the doughty Black Caps, who squared the two-match contest with a 17-run win in the second match last night.

Drubbed by seven wickets in the first match of the series, New Zealand put up 144 for eight yesterday, then bowled Pakistan out for 127, despite some late heroics by Shahid Afridi.

Chasing a score that was only nine more than the target they overhauled so comprehensively on Thursday, Pakistan made a stuttering start.

They were three down for 24 inside five overs, and they failed recover from those early blows.

Sarfraz Ahmed, who smashed an unbeaten 73 to anchor Pakistan’s successful chase in the first T20, was dismissed in the opening over for one while Mohammed Hafeez and Haris Sohail followed soon after.

Ahmed Shahzad (33) and Saad Nasim (19) did manage to put the innings back on track with a 40-run partnership for the fourth wicket, but Pakistan were way behind the required run-rate. They needed 81 runs from 50 balls when Nasim departed, driving James Neesham to Dean Brownlie at covers.

By the end of the 14th over, they still had 71 runs to get, at a challenging run-rate of 11.83, but with Afridi at the crease, the target was never beyond reach.

The Pakistan captain smashed the two of the first three deliveries he faced for maximums to bring some life into the chase, but then Umar Akmal lost his middle stump in the next over to peg the hosts back. In the last three overs, Pakistan needed 39 and Afridi smashed another six to raise hopes, but once he departed, for an 11-ball 28, the fans started making their way to the exit doors.

Afridi will certainly be disappointed with the result, for his bowlers had done well to restrict the Kiwis, especially Umar Gul, who was playing in his first international since April after sustaining a knee injury.

Corey Anderson, New Zealand’s top scorer on Thursday night, was rested as a precautionary measure after receiving a blow to the helmet during a 36-ball 48 in the first T20.

Yet, the Kiwis nonetheless made a swift start to their innings, cruising to 49 before Hafeez castled Anton Devcich (21) with a quicker ball that left the southpaw flummoxed.

Three balls later, Dean Brownlie was back in the pavilion without opening his scores, unfortunate to be adjudged leg-before to a Afridi delivery that seemed to be drifting down the leg.

Kane Williamson (32) was next to depart, bowled by Afridi, and the Black Caps were reduced to 58 from 49 without loss.

Those three wickets, inside 23 deliveries, took the momentum out of the New Zealand innings, but Luke Ronchi’s cameo (31 from 19 balls) toward the end managed to put enough on the board for his bowlers to defend.

The visitors had come back to level the Test series earlier.

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Published: December 6, 2014 04:00 AM


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