Harbhajan Singh, a former off-spinner for India, questioned the New Zealand batsmen for their lack of enthusiasm during their semi-final match against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2022, saying skipper Kane Williamson was waiting for things to occur rather than forcing them after winning the toss and choosing to bat.
New Zealand took an early lead by electing to bat on a dry pitch in Sydney in their crucial semi-final against Pakistan.
However, Shaheen Shah Afridi quickly defeated them, striking out their powerful opener Finn Allen in the first over. In the powerplay, Devon Conway kept the scoreboard ticking before being run out by Shadab Khan in the sixth over.
In the quickest format of the game, Harbhajan argued that it is past time for New Zealand to look beyond Kane Williamson. Given that the New Zealand captain hasn’t scored more than 120 runs in the previous two years, Williamson’s strike rate in T20Is has come under scrutiny.
“Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell, they were playing run-a-ball. It’s just not the way to play T20. I think it’s time that New Zealand needs to think beyond Kane Williamson in this format. He is a top-class player but not in this format,” Harbhajan Singh said.
“They were not looking to score”: Harbhajan Singh
Also losing their power hitter early, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell started the rescue effort. For the fourth wicket, the two batters put up a 68-run partnership, but Williamson was bowled by Shaheen in the 17th over, failing to capitalize on the start and give New Zealand a strong finish.
Despite Mitchell striking a 35-ball 53, New Zealand was reduced to 152 for 4 in 20 overs due to Williamson’s 46, which he made after taking 43 deliveries to get there.
Only 2 boundaries were hit by New Zealand during their 46 runs in the final 5 overs as Pakistani spinners applied pressure.
“They should have scored more because this was the same pitch where they scored 200 against Australia. I believe they left at least 15-20 on the ground. Yes, considering the World Cup strain, 150 was a respectable score,” Harbhajan Singh further said on Star Sports after Pakistan’s victory in Sydney.
“They were not looking to score. The plan was to only take singles and pairs. They were not looking to push the envelope.
“Yes, you had lost three wickets in the first innings. But because it’s T20, you have to take your chances. You can’t wait for things to happen, you just can’t. And I believe that is where they lost the game,” Harbhajan Singh added.
Pakistan beats New Zealand by seven wickets to enter the final of the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney.