In a spectacular display of skill and leadership, Tim Southee etched his name in the record books by becoming the first player to reach 150 wickets in Twenty20 internationals. Leading New Zealand’s formidable pace attack, Southee’s stellar performance guided his team to a commanding 46-run victory over Pakistan in the series opener held at Auckland. Let’s delve into the highlights of this intense clash that unfolded at Eden Park.
Southee’s Record-Breaking Spell:
Veteran seam bowler Tim Southee showcased his prowess, claiming four crucial wickets to surpass the 150-wicket milestone in T20 internationals. His figures of 4-25 were pivotal in dismissing Pakistan for 180 in the 18th over, curtailing their pursuit of New Zealand’s imposing total of 226-8. Southee now boasts an impressive tally of 151 wickets in T20 internationals, outshining Bangladesh spinner Shakib Al Hasan by 11 wickets.
Pakistan’s Run Chase and Babar Azam’s Stand:
Despite commendable starts from openers Saim Ayub and Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan faced a setback as former captain Babar Azam fell in the 17th over after a brisk innings of 57 off 35 balls. The run chase faltered, and Southee’s consistent performance played a pivotal role in securing the win for New Zealand.
Williamson Acknowledges Southee’s Impact:
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson praised Tim Southee’s contributions, emphasizing not only his on-field excellence but also his leadership role in the team. Williamson highlighted Southee’s calming influence and the valuable experience he brings, especially for the young and dynamic pace bowlers in the squad.
New Zealand’s Boundary-Laden Innings:
New Zealand’s innings was marked by boundaries, setting a record for the highest T20 score conceded by Pakistan. Finn Allen’s explosive start, Daryl Mitchell’s rapid 61 off 27 balls, and Williamson’s resilient 57 off 42 were key contributors to New Zealand’s formidable total. The Pakistani bowlers, including debutant Abbas Afridi, struggled to contain the onslaught, conceding 21 fours and 11 sixes.
As New Zealand celebrates their victory, Pakistan’s captain Shaheen Shah Afridi acknowledges the need for improvements ahead of the second match in Hamilton. Despite Shaheen’s three wickets, misfields in the middle overs and missed opportunities were identified as areas for enhancement.
In an unexpected turn of events, New Zealand’s spin-bowling allrounder Mitchell Santner missed the action due to a positive Covid-19 test earlier in the day, adding a layer of challenge to the Kiwi lineup.
The stage is set for a riveting series, with both teams gearing up for a competitive showdown in the upcoming matches.
Afsheen is a writer with an extensive experience in creating authentic and well-researched articles.