Familiar Foes Face Off: 5 Memorable Pakistan vs. New Zealand Encounters

Ahead of the T20 World Cup clash between Pakistan and New Zealand, we look back at 5 famous T20Is between the 2 sides.

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Even if you didn’t pay much attention in history classes or if marketing was never your thing, you don’t need to be a genius to work out why the Pakistan-India fixture generates so much hype. However, due to the events of Friday 17th September 2021, for many Pakistani fans, the fixture against New Zealand on Tuesday is the more meaningful one. Pakistan have played the Black Caps in T20I cricket more times than they have any other nation, but there is no doubt that the upcoming clash is the most highly anticipated fixture between the two sides. There is a feeling that there is more than just the 2 points at stake. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane and look at five memorable encounters!

1.    Pakistan beat New Zealand to reach the World T20 Final!

  • Series: World T20 2007 1st Semi-Final
  • Date: 22 September 2007
  • Venue: Newlands, Cape Town

The inaugural edition of the World T20 saw both semi-finals take place on the same day. The first encounter of this ‘Super Saturday’ saw the Shoaib Malik-led Pakistan take on New Zealand at the picturesque Newlands Stadium in what was, incidentally, the first-ever meeting between the two nations in the format. The Green Shirts came into this semi-final on the back of winning all 3 group games, while New Zealand had lost their final group stage match against South Africa.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, New Zealand’s openers Lou Vincent and Brendon McCullum got the Black Caps off to a solid start. They were 44-0 off 6.2 overs before the heavens opened, and the players were forced off the field. It was when play resumed after this break that the tide began to turn Pakistan’s way. Perhaps it gave the Green Shirts a chance to regroup – New Zealand’s first wicket fell in the first full over after the interruption, with Lou Vincent being dismissed for 28 after a terrific return catch by Fawad Alam.

Not too soon after that, Brendon McCullum was also back in the pavilion after being dismissed LBW by Shahid Afridi. The introduction of Umar Gul then saw Pakistan get a firm grip of the game - the ‘Guldozer’ removed both Scott Styris and Peter Fulton in his second over and also had Jacob Oram nicking behind off the final ball of his third over, and he finished with superb figures of 4-0-15-3. A deflated New Zealand were 126-8 with one over to go, but Ross Taylor tore into Mohammad Asif to get 17 runs off the final over, and Daniel Vettori’s men finished on 143-8.

However, this expensive final over would have no bearing on the final result. Imran Nazir and Mohammad Hafeez got Pakistan off to a flier; after the Powerplay, the Men in Green were well placed at 54-0. Hafeez was dismissed at the start of the 7th over, but there was no change of approach from Imran Nazir, who carried on playing his shots with maximum results. Ross Taylor, normally a reliable pair of hands, dropped an absolute sitter in the 12th over to give Imran Nazir a life, and just a few balls later, the opener managed to top edge a hook shot all the way for six!

He rode his luck but was eventually dismissed for 59 from 41 balls – hitting three 4s and five 6s in total. The Kiwis had a glimmer of hope when Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi were dismissed shortly after Nazir. Still, the right-hander’s swashbuckling innings ensured Pakistan could afford a few quiet overs, and Shoaib Malik’s team eventually won by six wickets, with more than an over to spare. Umar Gul took home the Man of the Match award, but this was not to be his best performance vs. New Zealand in a World T20…

2.    The Umar Gul show!

  • Series: World T20 2009 (Super 8)
  • Date: 13 June 2009
  • Venue: The Oval, London

One fantastic spell of fast bowling against New Zealand in a World T20 clearly wasn’t enough for Umar Gul. New Zealand started their Super 8 campaign with a crushing victory over Ireland, while Pakistan were convincingly beaten by a strong Sri Lanka side in their Super 8 opener at Lord’s.

Just one day after that defeat, Pakistan made the short trip down from the home of cricket to the Oval to take on Daniel Vettori’s men, knowing that a loss would see them all but eliminated from the tournament. New Zealand elected to bat first, and that decision initially looked to be the correct one, as the Kiwis scored 14 in the first over. However, it was all downhill for the Black Caps from the 4th over onwards. Mohammad Amir made the first breakthrough, removing Aaron Redmond to slow down the pace of the game.

Umar Gul was brought on in the 12th over and made an immediate impact, removing Scott Styris – with the help of an iconic catch by Shahid Afridi – and Peter McGlashan in successive balls. This set the tone for the first 5-wicket haul in the history of T20I cricket – he finished with figures of 5/6 from 3 overs, and this remains one of the greatest all-time spells of bowling in T20 cricket. New Zealand were eventually bowled out for 99, their lowest T20I score at the time.

In the chase, debutant Shahzaib Hasan, who was brought in for Salman Butt, top-scored with 35. Pakistan had a mini-collapse of their own, falling from 61-1 to 71-4, but Shahid Afridi and skipper Younis Khan saw them home comfortably.

3.    Heartbreak for Pakistan!

  • Series: World T20 2010 (Super 8)
  • Date: 08 May 2010
  • Venue: Bridgetown, Barbados

With Pakistan and New Zealand coming off defeats against England and South Africa, respectively, a lot was riding on this match. Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first, and when Brendon McCullum & Ross Taylor were both dismissed within six balls of each other, Pakistan had a firm grip on the game, with the Kiwis stuttering at 58-4. However, 38 off 34 by Daniel Vettori and 21 off 17 by Scott Styris helped lift New Zealand to 133-7 from their 20 overs – a respectable total but one that Pakistan would have fancied chasing.

Salman Butt looked comfortable at the crease, and Pakistan fans knew that if they could just string together one big partnership, they would have a very good chance of achieving their fairly modest target. It wasn’t to be with his fellow opener, Kamran Akmal; he was dismissed for just 5. Mohammad Hafeez wasted no time to get settled, hitting two boundaries in his first three balls. Would it be a Butt & Hafeez partnership to see them home? Nope, Hafeez was caught behind for a 4-ball 8.

Maybe the young and talented Umar Akmal would calm the nerves? Nope. Golden duck. As if he was batting on a different pitch to everyone else, Salman Butt continued to score runs as wickets fell around him and Shahid Afridi’s men were making a meal of the chase. They were 59-5 at the halfway mark. Eventually, Butt found an ally in Abdul Razzaq, and when the all-rounder took 16 runs from Daniel Vettori’s final over, the momentum was suddenly back with Pakistan. That’s the beauty of low-scoring matches.

Pakistan needed 22 off the last two overs and, with Razzaq being dismissed in the 18th over, it was up to Salman Butt to see Pakistan through. Having just become the match’s only half-centurion, the opener smashed Kyle Mills over long-off for a maximum to reduce the equation to 16 off 11 balls. There would be five singles to finish the over, meaning Pakistan needed 11 off the final over, with Butt on strike. Dot ball. Four. Dot ball. Four.

Would Salman Butt be the hero? Three required off two. Here we go! Ian Butler fires in a yorker, and the non-striker scurries through as they steal a bye. Crucially for Pakistan, however, this meant that Butt was off strike for the all-important final ball. Would Butt regret that, or could he rely on Abdur Rehman, by no means a mug with the bat, to get the two runs required for victory? Ian Butler delivered a harmless length ball angled into the pads, but, in heart-breaking circumstances, Rehman could only pick out Martin Guptill at deep square leg. The dream was diminished, right in front of Salman Butt’s very eyes.

4.    Pakistan become the #1 ranked T20I team!

  • Series: Pakistan tour of New Zealand 2018
  • Date: 28 January 2018
  • Venue: Mount Maunganui

After winning the 2017 Champions Trophy, Pakistan took on New Zealand in a highly anticipated ODI series. The series failed to live up to expectations. There were some horrible lows for Pakistan as they received a 5-0 thrashing at the hand of Kane Williamson’s men.

The same fans who were full of praise after the historic win less than a year ago were now labeling the victory as a fluke and were turning against the team, which is hardly surprising in the world of Pakistan cricket. The T20I series offered a chance of redemption, but the poor form carried over to the shorter format as Pakistan were crushed in the opener. But there was to be some light at the end of the tunnel, after all! They leveled the series convincingly after winning the 2nd T20I, meaning it would all come down to the final T20I. And it wasn’t just the series victory the visitors were playing for; a win would have seen them become the #1 ranked T20I team in the world!

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, the top 4 of Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed all got decent scores, but none of them could capitalize on their start or score at a Strike Rate of over 140. After Sarfaraz Ahmed was dismissed, Pakistan were 123-4 off 15.5 overs and the fairly inexperienced lower order, consisting of Haris Sohail, Umar Amin, Faheem Ashraf & Aamer Yamin had work to do to lift them to a defendable total. However, against a bowling line-up spearheaded by Tim Southee & Trent Boult, they did exactly what was required of them, and between them scored 64 off 29 as Pakistan finished on a total of 181-6.

The chase would twist and turn. New Zealand were 47-1 at the end of the Powerplay, but as the field spread out, Pakistan did well to stop the flow of runs. New Zealand were falling behind the required run rate. Still, Martin Guptill had already reached his half-century, and Pakistan had seen first hand in the ODI drubbing exactly what he can do to teams once set – he was player of the series in the 5-0 victory for the Black Caps.

However, in his  4th over, Shadab Khan removed both Anaru Kitchen and the danger-man, Guptill, with the final ball of his spell. It was Pakistan’s game to lose, but the experienced Ross Taylor kept the hosts in the game, and a couple of massive overs had Pakistan fans biting their nails, wondering if they were going to fall at the final hurdle. But when Mohammad Amir removed Taylor, Pakistan fans could breathe a collective sigh of relief. The match was theirs. The series was theirs. And, most importantly, the #1 T20I ranking was theirs.

5.    Pakistan follow up Australia whitewash with a close victory!

  • Series: New Zealand tour of UAE 2018
  • Date: 31 October 2018
  • Venue: Abu Dhabi

After Australia were whitewashed 3-0, their trans-Tasman neighbors were in town to see if they could stop Sarfaraz Ahmed’s #1 ranked T20I team in a 3-match series. The series opener was on Halloween, and it was fitting that it was a heart-racing thriller to kick things off. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, both of Pakistan’s openers were dismissed cheaply. Still, handy knocks by Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfaraz Ahmed helped lift Pakistan to 148-6 from their 20 overs, a total which was more than enough in the prior series against Australia.

What cost Australia dearly in that series chasing fairly modest totals was the loss of early wickets, but Kane Williamson’s men had a different approach. On a pitch where runs were hard to come by, Colin Munro played his natural game and took advantage of the fielding restrictions, and the Black Caps were 50-1 after six overs, significantly ahead of the run rate. However, the introduction of Mohammad Hafeez & Shadab Khan slowed things down significantly in the middle overs.

When Munro was dismissed in the 12th over for a fine 58 off 42 balls, Pakistan were regaining control of the match. Wickets continued to tumble, and the runs dried up – there was no boundary after Munro’s dismissal until the 18th over. It came down to the final over of the chase, with Ross Taylor and Tim Southee at the crease and the inexperienced Shaheen Afridi with the ball in hand. When Southee got a cheeky boundary, the equation was reduced to 12 off 4. That became 11 off 3 when Southee got a single, and it was all up to Ross Taylor. A couple of twos meant they needed a last-ball six. Shaheen Afridi delivered a full toss, but the veteran couldn’t clear the ropes! Pakistan 1-0 New Zealand.

Which team will emerge victorious on Tuesday evening?

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1 comment
Anonymous
27 Oct, 2021

Nice! now need security..