New Zealand clinch a spine-chiller
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:Kensington Oval, Bridgetown
Scorecard:New Zealand v Pakistan
Player:Salman Butt, Abdul Razzaq, DL Vettori, BB McCullum, Shahid Afridi
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2010

DateLine: 8th May 2010


New Zealand did well to hold their nerve to snatch a match from under the nose of Pakistan. The match was a typical example of a T20 match as the fortunes swung wildly and it was not possible to predict the winners till the last ball was bowled. Pakistan had given themselves a chance to stay alive in the tournament as they restricted New Zealand to a below-par total of 133 but the Kiwi bowlers fought back brilliantly. Pakistan in reply fell short by a solitary run and that in turn eliminated them from the tournament.


In the crucial encounter Shahid Afridi decided to field first as he wanted his bowlers to restrict an under-cooked batting line-up of New Zealand. While Aamir was accurate Mohammad Sami sprayed the ball around and that sort of handed the advantage to New Zealand. Things began to brighten up for Pakistan after Ryder (7, 8b, 1x4) fell. The burly left hander played a good looking flick shot but found man post at deep square leg as New Zealand lost their first wicket. That sort of pegged back the Kiwi side and they never sort of recovered the momentum. Guptill (2, 10b) never looked comfortable against the spin duo of Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez and finally fell as he was caught in the deep. The Kiwi hopes rested on the shoulders of McCullum (33, 29b, 5x4) who blended caution with aggression perfectly till he was caught at fine-leg off a top edge as he tried to sweep.


Once Taylor (3, 7b) edged behind of a recharged Sami the Kiwi innings nosedived. Vettori and Styris for a while stemmed the rot with a 40 run partnership in 5.2 overs. Just when Styris (21, 17b, 1x6, 1x4) was looking dangerous Afridi cleaned him up and that again put a spanner in the New Zealand innings.


Hopkins (2, 7b) did nothing to catch one's imagination and it was left to skipper Vettori to shore up the innings. The skipper put up a abrave face as his side simply lost direction in the crucial encounter and to make the matters worse he could find the boundaries that was needed to push the rate of scoring up. New Zealand at the end of their 20 overs scored a below par 133 for the loss of seven wickets.


If Pakistan would have thought that they would canter to win they were hugely mistaken as the Kiwi bowlers mounted a brilliant fightback. Salman Butt watched motionless from one end as wickets tumbled at the other end. Kamran Akmal (5, 8b) got a brilliant yorker from Mills while Bond who looked off-colour had Hafeez (8, 4b, 2x4) caught behind with an excellent out-swinger. Extra bounce from Mills accounted for Umar Akmal (0, 1b) and once Misbah (3, 13b) was trapped leg before by Butler things looked bleak for the Pakistani side. The Pakistani hopes rested on the broad shoulders of Afridi (11, 9b, 1x4) but again the skipper whose nick name is boom boom went bust. Abdur Razzaq who is playing in the side purely as a batsman finally justified his selection in the side.


The all-rounder joined Salma Butt in the middle and the two upped the ante to put the pressure on the Kiwis. Salman Butt personified elegance while Abdur Razzaq used brute force to put off the Kiwi bowlers. Razzaq got three sixes in his knock of 29 to shift the momentum back into the Pakistani camp. The all-rounder threatened to take Pakistan to a much needed win all by himself before Nathan McCullum lured Razzaq to hit him into the stands but found Taylor in the deep. Butt meanwhile continued his lone battle and in the penultimate over the southpaw send Mills over the cover fence to keep the required run-rate within Pakistan's camp.


In the last over Pakistan needed 11 runs. Salman Butt got a boundary in the second delivery of the over and repeated the feat in the fourth delivery to bring down the equation to 3 from 2 balls. In the penultimate delivery Salman Butt for reasons known only to him took a run leaving Abdur Rehman to hit the winning runs. After long deliberations as to where fielders must be placed Butler bowled the final delivery which Rehman flicked to the hands of Guptill at square leg to set off some delirious celebrations in the Kiwi camp.


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