By Anmol Pundir

Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali fetch 48 run partnership to clinch a 5 wicket win against New Zealand at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

New Zealand after posting a total of 134 gave a tough fight to Pakistan, but a mature knock from Shoaib Malik and hand in support from Asif Ali took game away from Black caps.

Pakistan after winning the toss had opted to bowl and began bowling at right areas, though
Guptill and Dary Mitchell were able to get some boundaries, the scoring rate was not well
enough. Pakistan bowling unit did not disappoint in their second match, where Haris Rauf
shined as a star, his spell of 4/22 fetched him the award of man of the match.

Haris Rauf initially got the cap of Martin Guptill, beating him with raw pace, and then later in the innings got the wickets of Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, and Mitchell Santner.

Shaheen Afridi, who came out as a star against India also got wicket of Tim Seifert. Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez got one wicket each.

New Zealand on the slow pitch could only post the total of 134. Kane Williamson’s 25 off 26 balls, Dary Mitchell’s 27 off 20, and Devon Conway’s 27 off 24 balls helped New Zealand to reach to a total that gives them some chance to stand in the match.

Pakistan’s opening pair that scored 152 runs against India, were seen struggling a bit, before Tim Southee clean bowled Babar Azam on the first delivery of 6th ball. Fakhar Zaman was also seen struggling against New Zealand spinner Ish Sodhi and ended up getting LBW to Sodhi.

Mohammad Hafeez looked dangerous to New Zealand’s bowling unit but Devon Conway’s
stunning catch at long-off ended up things for Mohammad Hafeez pretty early. Rizwan who was also seen struggling against Sodhi got LBW on the off-break delivery. Ish Sodhi’s spell off 28/2 brought New Zealand back in the game.

Tim Southee’s 25/1, and Mitchell Santner’s 33/1 also helped New Zealand to create some pressure on the Pakistani’s, but the remaining show was waiting for a captivating partnership from Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali. Asif Ali’s 2 sixes of Southee’s over made the match almost in the favor of Pakistan, and rest was taken cate by the experienced Shoaib Malik.

Pakistan finished the match with 8 balls remaining and are currently at the top of the table of Group 2 with 4 points in 4 matches.

Pakistan will next face Afghanistan on 29th October, and New Zealand will face India on 31 st October.

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