Tuesday, March 22, 2016

World Cup T20 : New Zealand vs Pakistan

A crucial match this, between the Kiwis & Pakistan at the picturesque Mohali.... a win will seal a semis berth for the Kiwis, & a win for Pakistan, will keep them alive in the tournament.

New Zealand won the toss & elected to bat, as usual wanting to put up a good total & then defend. The power plays were very productive, with 55 runs coming without a loss. Kane Williamson finally got out in the 8th over, with score at 62, while Guptill was blazing at the other end.
the 2nd wicket too came quickly, with Munro trying a reverse sweep & holing out to an easy catch in the deep.....75 for 2 in the 9th over. At the end of 12 overs, hundred runs were on board for 2, with Guptill having put up an excellent 62 off just 38 deliveries. 50 runs partnership between Guptill & Anderson came up in the 15th over, as the Kiwis consolidated the score to 127 runs, but just then Sami bowled Guptill for an excellently made 80 off just 48 balls. Anderson too holed out in the deep soon after for a quick 21 off 13 deliveries, as Pakistan had pulled back the score a bit. Late onslaught by Ronchi( 11 form 7 balls) & Taylor( unbeaten 36 from 23 balls), with 16 coming off the last over, got the Kiwis to a very healthy 180 for 5 at the end of the innings. Md Sami looked sharp in bowling with 2 for 23 in 4 overs, while Md Amir went for plenty today. This was definitely an impact total to defend, & Pakistan would need someone to blaze for a successful chase.

Pakistan started with Ahmed Shehzad & Sharjeel Khan, as Santner started the bowling for Kiwis. It was an eventful over, with with Sharjeel smacking three boundaries, Guptill missing a relatively easy chance on the fence, & finally Santner going for 15 runs. Good start for Pakistan. Sharjeel kept hitting & to good effect, as the score jumped to 51 without loss in the 4th over, & Sharjeel had raced to 42 in just 18 deliveries. However, such initial starts need to to be complemented & maintained, which the Pakistani batsmen could not. Sharjeel got out in the 6th over for a superb 47 off just 25 deliveries, & the momentum was lost. Shehzad was slow, & so was Umar Akmal......Afridi tried to slog, but left for 19 off 9 getting caught on the ropes by Corey Anderson off Sodhi. That possibly deflated the spirit in the batting. Shoaib & Sarfraz did not have the firepower to overtake the total, & in the end Pakistan innings folded at 158 for 5. Kiwis notching up their third consecutive victory, with a 22 run win. They are now assured of a semifinal berth...the first team in the competition to do so. Their bowlers have been awesome in defending totals posted for them, with spinners coming to the party. Guptill was the obvious choice for the Man of the Match...a superb 80 off just 48 balls.
For Pakistan, it was once again, losing out after a blistering start. They still do have an outside chance to make the next grade, but, its a very bleak possibility. For me, they are out of the competition. This could also mark the end of Afridi's captaincy & possibly his career. He indicated the same, in the match end presentation. Sad to see such an entertainer, go into sunset this way.
The game between India & Australia could decide the next team from this group, unless there are some upsets.