Haris Rauf, Asif Ali Star in Pakistan’s Second Victory in T20 WC 2021

The second game of the T20 World Cup 2021 against New Zealand kept Pakistani fans as attentive as one against India on the previous day had. The primary reason was security; Who does not want to secure its seat? Pakistan also obviously wanted their second victory and top the group 2 table to qualify for the semi-finals easily.

Another thing was revenge; Revenge of the humiliation the whole of the nation had to face after New Zealand canceled a scheduled tour on the day of the first of the three ODI matches. Asians are emotional and Pakistanis wanted their team to defeat black caps to take revenge.

New Zealand’s Experiments in the Batting Line-up Fail

Haris Rauf in PAK v NZ
Haris Rauf took his career-best figure as he ripped NZ batting line-up

The men in green won the toss and elected to ball first. T20 is a shorter format and it is better to know the target at least, in a format where you don’t have any idea of many things. Teams mostly keep a firm belief in their strength but when you play in UAE, you must keep the conditions in mind as well.

New Zealand experimented and sent Daryl Mitchell to open the inning for the first time in his career. When he failed, Jimmy Neesham was promoted in the middle order and he also disappointed Black Caps. Williamson by anyway kept on building the inning before getting run out by Hasan Ali in the 14th over. 

Once the skipper left, even New Zealand’s next big thing like Devon Conway could not power Kiwis in the death overs to reach a respectable total. Haris Rauf started his proceedings with a 149 km/h yorker to dismiss Martin Guptill. In the death overs, he got 3 wickets on slower deliveries to power the team’s second victory and finished his spell with the figure of 4/22.

Pakistan’s Batters Challenged

Williamson’s chaps target of 135 looked ordinary on paper but once the second inning started, it looked a challenge. Green shirts needed partnerships and Rizwan and Babar failed to provide a big one. Babar lost his wicket to Tim Southee in the 6th over. 

The following batsmen had to find a way to keep on scoring without losing wickets but middle-order batters failed to accomplish the task. Both Fakhar Zaman and Muhammad Hafeez got starts but failed to convert them into good innings. Once Ish Sodhi bowled Mohammad Rizwan LBW in the 12th over, Pakistan had to trust untrustworthy batters.

Asif Ali fires in death overs to get Pakistan’s second victory

Imad Wasim was promoted at no.6, ahead of Asif, but failed to impress his fans. In a high-pressure run-chase in difficult conditions, he kept on trying his unorthodox shots and was bowled LBW by Trent Boult on the second last delivery of the 15th over. 

When Asif came in, Pakistan needed 48 off 31 balls. He guided Boult’s last ball for a four and smashed Southee’s 2nd and 3rd deliveries of the 17th over for two sixes to decrease the required run-rate to 8 an over. Shoaib Malik found a six and four in the 18th over, bowled by Santner. Asif came back on strike in the second last over, bowled by Boult. He smashed Boult’s 3rd ball for a six and followed it up with a drive towards extra cover to snatch two easy runs. Meanwhile, he had handed his side the second victory in the T20 World Cup 2021.

What went wrong for New Zealand?

New Zealanders in PAK v NZ
New Zealand’s batting woes continues

Like South Africa, Williamson and co would also miss their senior batter in Ross Taylor. This was already predicted seeing the group of players they had selected to play T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE. The unavailability of Lockie Ferguson due to injury has decreased the strength of their bowling attack and in UAE conditions against opposition like Pakistan, these weaknesses were due to get exposed. 

Williamson looked optimistic and it is right as well seeing the way they had challenged Babar’s men in the second inning. It was just the heroics of Ali in the death overs that had changed the course of the game. A team as good as the Black Caps will certainly bounce back strongly.

Pakistan are Hot Favorites Now

Pakistan's second victory Selfie

Indians have already declared but once Kiwis are also beaten and cornered, the whole cricket fraternity considers Pakistan the hottest favourites now. Almost every team has some weaknesses or imbalances but the Shaheens doesn’t seem to have any issue right now.

They have good fast bowlers. Their spinners are delivering. Captain looks confident and well prepared. After the great show of Rizwan and Babar against India, Ali and Malik have also shown their class after both finished not out against New Zealand and played a central role in the nation’s second victory. The only weakness is the lack of consistency. 

Sometimes, the green men losses a game that is due to be won easily. The next game against Afghanistan will also be interesting to watch due to this only weakness.

Also Read:

Excited Fans Take Celebrations to the Next Level as Pakistan Created History

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