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New Zealand levels series with 17-run win

Devcich, Mills and Neesham star with the ball as Pakistan falls short in pursuit of 145

New Zealand levels series with 17-run win - Cricket News
Jimmy Neesham grabbed 3 for 25 as Pakistan was bowled out for 127.
For the second time in as many days, Pakistan opted to field and restricted New Zealand to a small score – 144 for 8 on this occasion – but there was a twist to the plot this time.

New Zealand put in a much better performance with the ball to bundle out Pakistan for 127, sealing a 17-run victory in the second Twenty20 International at Dubai International stadium on Friday (December 5). As a result, the two-match series ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Pakistan bowlers were once again on the mark. Umar Gul, returning after a knee injury to play his first international match since April, finished with 2 for 24. The fact that Kane Williamson’s 31-ball 32 was New Zealand’s highest score was telling.

Despite that, the New Zealand bowlers did incredibly well to deny Pakistan, with Jimmy Neesham particularly efficient, taking out the middle order to finish with 3 for 25. 
Having gone through the Power Play overs without losing a wicket in the first T20I on Thursday – which it won by seven wickets – Pakistan lost three within the first five overs on the day.

Sarfraz Ahmed, whose 64-ball 76 highlighted the first T20I, was the first to fall, trapped in front by Anton Devcich. Mohammad Hafeez fell soon after, returning a catch to Devcich for his second wicket, and when Haris Sohail holed out off Matt Henry – his maiden wicket in the format – Pakistan was 24 for 3.
Ahmed Shehzad and Saad Nasim then put on 40 for the fourth wicket. It came off 42 balls, and helped steady the innings.
But the stand was broken when Nasim attempted changing gears and holed out off Neesham, having scored a 21-ball 19. With the asking rate rising, Shehzad tried a biggie, missed his shot and was bowled by Daniel Vettori for a 36-ball 33.

Pakistan now had its work cut out, with the required rate becoming increasingly daunting. That said, in Shahid Afridi Pakistan had a batsman who was more than capable of overturning lost causes.
He walked in and promptly picked two typically huge sixes of Vettori, much to the crowd’s delight. He watched from one end as Umar Akmal and then Anwar Ali were dismissed in quick succession, but he hung on, unleashing the big hits whenever possible.

As long as he was there, Pakistan had a chance, and New Zealand knew that. In the 18th over, Afridi carted one over deep square leg for another big six, but Neesham returned with a short ball which Afridi nicked to the keeper. He walked back for an 11-ball 28, and Pakistan’s chances diminished heavily.
Thereafter, the tailenders tried the big hits and holed out as New Zealand sealed what had seemed an unlikely victory for the best part of the evening.


Earlier, New Zealand started prudently with the bat, with Williamson and Devcich putting on 49 for the first wicket. The stand was broken when Devcich was bowled by Hafeez. Dean Brownlie followed suit, trapped leg before wicket by Afridi for a duck.

Williamson became the third wicket to fall, bowled by Afridi, and with Ross Taylor was also dismissed briefly into his innings, New Zealand was reduced to 78 for 4.
New Zealand had a much-needed partnership when Tom Latham and Luke Ronchi got together for the fifth wicket. For a brief period, they kept the scoreboard ticking.

They largely took quick singles and doubles, but when the opportunity presented itself, they went for the big hits. Latham, having hit Hafeez for a couple of fours, took after Raza Hasan, while Ronchi went berserk against Afridi, smashing him for a couple of straight sixes off consecutive balls.
The partnership was broken when Latham fell to Gul and Ronchi was then sent back by Afridi, and it seemed New Zealand’s fightback had been nipped in the bud. The two had scored 38 in just 23 balls.
After that, chasing 145, Pakistan seemed poised for victory, but the New Zealand bowlers decided otherwise.

Please click here to see the full scorecard of Pakistan v New Zealand in Dubai.

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