The Blackcaps proved their fine form is continuing after a decisive and convincing win over Pakistan in the third and final T20 match-up, giving them an overall 2-1 series win and moving them up to fifth in the world rankings.
Having lost the first match by sixteen runs to a determined and aggressive Pakistan squad, the Blackcaps bounced back in impressive fashion to snatch the second game by a massive ten wickets and forced the decider in Wellington.
New Zealand Overpower Pakistan for T20 Series Win
In the second match, having lost the toss, New Zealand batted first and raced to a mammoth 196 in their allotted 20 overs thanks to a fine innings by all-rounder Corey Anderson who hit 82 off just 42 balls, supported by cameos from captain Kane Williamson (33 off 34) and Martin Guptill (42 off 19). This final total saw a new ground record total set.
Pakistan were going to need a miracle of the highest proportions if they were going to chase down a record breaking total—a task that simply proved too much for their batting line-up. The wickets began to fall quickly and methodically, with only two batsmen reaching double figures, one of whom was Sarfraz Ahmed who top scored with 41. While the New Zealand can naturally claim credit for their victory thanks to spot-on strike bowling and lightning-quick fielding, the Pakistan batsmen imploded and fell for nearly every set-up the bowlers had planned. They fell short of their required total by 95 runs and the Blackcaps recorded their highest ever victory in T20 cricket.
Despite the victory, New Zealand will now have injury concerns to focus on with both Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson leaving the field during the game. While it has been reported that Anderson was nursing cramp after his intense, match-winning innings and his substitution was simply a precautionary measure, Taylor retired hurt with a left side strain after facing just four deliveries.
Taylor’s injury scare is the last thing the Kiwi camp would like to have as they head into a three-match ODI series against Pakistan before their big tour of Australia begins. The tour will mark the end of legendary Blackcaps player Brendon McCullum’s career.
The biggest thing to take from the current form New Zealand find themselves is that when their fearless leader does retire, they will be more than capable of continuing without McCullum while under the new leadership of Williamson.