Pakistan buckle under pressure

Guptill scored a well made half century

By Jamie Alter


Pallekele: Mar 8, 2011

 

New Zealand had few issues in defending a total of 302, boosted incredibly by a late-innings assault from Ross Taylor. Left as mere spectators during the last five overs of New Zealand’s innings, a dazed and confused Pakistan stumbled out to reply with the bat and were left haemorrhaging inside the first 15 overs.

 

After 44 overs, three into the batting Powerplay, with the score 188 for five, it appeared New Zealand were facing a total of about 240. Six overs later, they had piled up 302. In Shahid Afridi’s final over, the 45th of the innings, Nathan McCullum and Taylor each swatted sixes. In the 46th, a six off Umar Gul was followed by a clever slower ball to dismiss Nathan McCullum for a ten-ball 19, leaving New Zealand 210 for six. Seven legal deliveries later, they were 238. 

 

The culprit was Shoaib Akhtar, recalled for a final burst, as he was caned for 28 in one over. Seventeen came off his first three balls: a wide full toss was slashed over backward point for four, the next two balls – full tosses, criminally – were swung away for sixes. A wide and a dot ball followed, but the Shoaib bowled a length ball and was creamed over cover for four. One wide delivery later, Taylor hung back in his crease and swung his third six of the over to scream to a century off 117 balls. In over, he had jumped from 76 to an astounding century, and Taylor wasn’t done. 

 

Jacob Oram took the cue and smashed Abdur Rehman for four and six, leaving Taylor to the strike for the penultimate over, bowled by Abdul Razzaq. What followed was smashing stuff. Four, driven over cover; six, slogged off bent knee; wide; six, heaved way over midwicket; another wide; two, driven down to long-off; four, driven past mid-on; six, pulled over midwicket. Thirty runs off the over. 

 

Rehman was thrown the ball for the 50th over, and first ball Oram carted him for a straight six. Rehman changed sides, but same result. There was finally some respite as Oram picked out long-on off the third ball, but the pain continued with Kyle Mills slashing the fourth for four, after which he scampered two and pinched a single. In the last six overs, New Zealand had scored 114 runs – 63 by Taylor himself. He and Oram had added 85 in 3.4 overs, with Oram’s contribution being 25. It was a bizarre end to the most quixotic of innings. 

 

Until that blitzkrieg, New Zealand has struggled on a virgin strip and against a good bowling attack. Brendon McCullum had been cleaned up in the first over, Jamie How had pottered 29 deliveries for four runs, and Martin Guptill had yet again thrown away a gritty fifty. Pakistan’s experienced pace duo of Shoaib and Gul had kept a check on runs, but were dismally let down behind the wicket. 

 

Shoaib, immediately into his second spell, had presented Pakistan two massive chances but they went begging. Taylor pushed at one and got a thick outside edge, but neither Younis Khan at slip nor Kamran Akmal went for it. Next ball, Taylor rubbed it in with a rasping square-driven four. Next ball, Shoaib produced another edge that went straight into Akmal’s gloves … and right back out. It was incredible to watch such regulation chances go down. 

 

Once Gul (5-1-8-1) was swapped for Afridi and Razzaq exchanged for Mohammad Hafeez, Taylor began driving down the ground. With Scott Styris (28), Taylor added 62 and that partnership allowed him to get some momentum. By the time he was joined by Nathan McCullum, Taylor was in good nick and seeing his partner tee off was just the invitation he needed. 

 

Pakistan’s chase began in disarray, with Mohammad Hafeez lbw to Tim Southee in the second over. In between Southee’s second wicket, Kamran Akmal caught edging low to Taylor at slip, Mills prised out Ahmed Shehzad and Younis in the seventh over. Misbah-ul-Haq’s painful innings came to an end when he squirted one from Southee to Styris at gully, and Afridi’s attempt to smash his way out of a jam lasted eight balls before he tried to defend the ninth and was bowled by Oram (66 for six). 

 

Umar Akmal’s resistance ended on 38 when he picked out the deep midwicket patroller, and Nathan McCullum soon added another wicket by rapping Abdur Rehman’s front pad. With this game over as a contest, it was left to Razzaq to delay the inevitable. After a scratchy start – at one stage he was 14 from 39 balls – Razzaq decided to open his shoulders and collected six boundaries to move to 40 off 58 balls by the 35-over mark.

 

Brief Scores: Pakistan 165 for 8 in 37 overs (Abdul Razzaq 54*, Umar Akmal 38, Shahid Afridi 17; Tim Southee 3 for 25, Kyle Mills 2 for 43) vs New Zealand 302 for 7 in 50 overs (Ross Taylor 131*, Martin Guptill 57; Umar Gul 3 for 32). 

 

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now) 

 

Pictures © Getty Images

 

New Zealand had few issues in defending a total of 302, boosted incredibly by a late-innings assault from Ross Taylor. Left as mere spectators during the last five overs of New Zealand’s innings, a dazed and confused Pakistan stumbled out to reply with the bat and were left haemorrhaging inside the first 15 overs. 

 

After 44 overs, three into the batting Powerplay, with the score 188 for five, it appeared New Zealand were facing a total of about 240. Six overs later, they had piled up 302. In Shahid Afridi’s final over, the 45th of the innings, Nathan McCullum and Taylor each swatted sixes. In the 46th, a six off Umar Gul was followed by a clever slower ball to dismiss Nathan McCullum for a ten-ball 19, leaving New Zealand 210 for six. Seven legal deliveries later, they were 238. 

 

The culprit was Shoaib Akhtar, recalled for a final burst, as he was caned for 28 in one over. Seventeen came off his first three balls: a wide full toss was slashed over backward point for four, the next two balls – full tosses, criminally – were swung away for sixes. A wide and a dot ball followed, but the Shoaib bowled a length ball and was creamed over cover for four. One wide delivery later, Taylor hung back in his crease and swung his third six of the over to scream to a century off 117 balls. In over, he had jumped from 76 to an astounding century, and Taylor wasn’t done. 

 

Jacob Oram took the cue and smashed Abdur Rehman for four and six, leaving Taylor to the strike for the penultimate over, bowled by Abdul Razzaq. What followed was smashing stuff. Four, driven over cover; six, slogged off bent knee; wide; six, heaved way over midwicket; another wide; two, driven down to long-off; four, driven past mid-on; six, pulled over midwicket. Thirty runs off the over. 

 

Rehman was thrown the ball for the 50th over, and first ball Oram carted him for a straight six. Rehman changed sides, but same result. There was finally some respite as Oram picked out long-on off the third ball, but the pain continued with Kyle Mills slashing the fourth for four, after which he scampered two and pinched a single. In the last six overs, New Zealand had scored 114 runs – 63 by Taylor himself. He and Oram had added 85 in 3.4 overs, with Oram’s contribution being 25. It was a bizarre end to the most quixotic of innings. 

 

Until that blitzkrieg, New Zealand has struggled on a virgin strip and against a good bowling attack. Brendon McCullum had been cleaned up in the first over, Jamie How had pottered 29 deliveries for four runs, and Martin Guptill had yet again thrown away a gritty fifty. Pakistan’s experienced pace duo of Shoaib and Gul had kept a check on runs, but were dismally let down behind the wicket. 

 

Shoaib, immediately into his second spell, had presented Pakistan two massive chances but they went begging. Taylor pushed at one and got a thick outside edge, but neither Younis Khan at slip nor Kamran Akmal went for it. Next ball, Taylor rubbed it in with a rasping square-driven four. Next ball, Shoaib produced another edge that went straight into Akmal’s gloves … and right back out. It was incredible to watch such regulation chances go down. 

 

Once Gul (5-1-8-1) was swapped for Afridi and Razzaq exchanged for Mohammad Hafeez, Taylor began driving down the ground. With Scott Styris (28), Taylor added 62 and that partnership allowed him to get some momentum. By the time he was joined by Nathan McCullum, Taylor was in good nick and seeing his partner tee off was just the invitation he needed. 

 

Pakistan’s chase began in disarray, with Mohammad Hafeez lbw to Tim Southee in the second over. In between Southee’s second wicket, Kamran Akmal caught edging low to Taylor at slip, Mills prized out Ahmed Shehzad and Younis in the seventh over. Misbah-ul-Haq’s painful innings came to an end when he squirted one from Southee to Styris at gully, and Afridi’s attempt to smash his way out of a jam lasted eight balls before he tried to defend the ninth and was bowled by Oram (66 for six). 

 

Umar Akmal and Razzaq attempted some sort of recovery, with the former playing a few punchy shots, but at 93 for six after 25 overs it will take a herculean effort to pull down this one. 

 

Brief Scores: Pakistan 94 for 6 in 25 overs (Umar Akmal 31*, Abdul Razzaq 9*; Tim Southee 3 for 25, Kyle Mills 2 for 16) v New Zealand 302 for 7 in 50 overs (Ross Taylor 131*, Martin Guptill 57; Umar Gul 3 for 32). 

 

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now)