Shaheen Shah Afridi defended 17 runs in the last over as Pakistan defeated New Zealand by two runs in the thrilling first T20I in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
The equation was finally down to 9 off the last two balls and seven off the last for New Zealand. A six would have helped New Zealand to take the game in the super over. However, Ross Taylor could only hit a full toss from Afridi for a four as Pakistan held on to continue their winning run in T20Is.
The victory has further extended Pakistan’s dominance in the shortest format of the game. The world number one T20I side has now won their last seven T20Is and 15 of the last 17.
Batting first, Pakistan ended their innings on 148 for 6. Veteran batsman Mohammad Hafeez top-scored for the hosts, scoring 45. New Zealand were off to a great start with the ball as Adam Milne and Ajaz Patel dismissed the Pakistan openers with just 10 on the board. Babar Azam, the man in form, was the first one to fall before Sahibzada Farhan departed too.
Hafeez and Asif Ali then shared a 67-run stand to steady the ship. Towards the end, skipper Sarfraz Ahmed played a handy knock of 34 while Imad Wasim struck 14 off 5 to take the score to 148.
In reply, New Zealand were off to a blazing start. With Colin Munro going great guns, they reached 50 in just the sixth over. Munro and Glenn Phillips scored just 22 in the first four overs before the former picked up 16 from the fifth over bowled by Wasim. The final over of the powerplay yielded 12 runs before Hasan Ali dismissed Phillips for 12.
The dismissal allowed the hosts to tighten the screw as they took command of the proceedings. Hafeez and Shadab Khan dried out the runs as the next four overs yielded just 22. The hosts had the big wicket of Munro in the 12th over after the southpaw struck three sixes and 6 boundaries in his 58-run knock. Imad then dismissed New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson for 11 to put Pakistan well on top.
In the end, they ended up on 146 for 6.
Pakistan 148/6 in 20 overs (Mohammad Hafeez 45; Adam Milne 2-28) beat New Zealand 146/6 in 20 overs (Colin Munro 58; Hasan Ali 3-35) by two runs.