This was a much closer contest than what anything Pakistan had experienced against Australia in the previous series. New Zealand's bowlers were much more effective and Colin Munro nearly took the game away from them single-handedly. But as it happened in the previous series, the bowlers pulled out the side with crucial wickets in crunch situations, which has eventually led to the hosts winning the first T20I by 2 runs.
Kudos to Shaheen Shah Afridi! Brilliant stuff from him #PakvNZ— zainab abbas (@ZAbbasOfficial) October 31, 2018
Pakistan Win! Sensational over from Shaheen Shah Afridi. He only erred in the second ball of the final over, getting it full on the legs which was tucked away for four. He was under pressure on the final ball as well, defending seven runs from the final ball. But the 18-year-old produced a low full toss on the final ball, which Taylor only managed to get a boundary.
Bowled! Hasan Ali was holding on to his hamstring couple of overs ago. But he is having no problems dishing out his favorite celebration. Full and tailing in to Seifert and he takes the stumps. Pakistan well and truly in the driver's seat. 17 runs from the final over.
FOUR! Streaky but much-needed boundary for New Zealand. Good short ball from Afridi but Taylor manages get some bat on it and it runs down fine to the fine leg boundary for four. They scamper away another five runs.
Number five down! Corey Anderson didn't look comfortable at the wicket and his struggling innings comes to an end. Full from Hasan Ali but the all-rounder is able to get under the ball. It takes the toe end of the bat and a simple catch is taken by Shoaib Malik at long on. He doesn't miss much.
Review and Not Out! Big shout from Shaeen Shah Afridi after he strikes the back leg of Corey Anderson as he misses a slog over the leg side. Sarfraz is quick to go for the review. He seems extremely confident but it's Umpire's Call on hitting the wickets.
Interesting, Hasan Ali is into the attack, and he looks alright. He was feeling his hamstring in the previous over but no issues with his run-up so far. Taylor is certainly looking to get the big shots going, to no avail so far. Despite no boundary coming from the over, New Zealand have managed to pick up at nine runs. Not what is needed, but just enough to keep them in the hunt.
100 up for New Zealand! Corey Anderson, as expected, is taking time to settle in. Ross Taylor at the other end is not any better. Both batsmen need to kick on if New Zealand have to reach this target. Meanwhile, Hasan Ali is having a niggle. He went down to pick up the ball but seems to have stretched - a tight hamstring most probably.
The fielding in this match has been exceptional from both sides. According to our fielding impact metric, today's match is the fifth best collective fielding performance in our database. New Zealand have featured in three of the top five matches. #PakvNZ pic.twitter.com/rBoBzYmz1g— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) October 31, 2018
Corey Anderson is now at the crease. The last time the all-rounder featured in international cricket was back in 2017 in the Champions Trophy in England. He will be a bit rusty, but has featured in a few games in the England domestic season and did captain the A side against Pakistan A in the warm-up limited overs series in UAE before the first T20I.
Run out! Exactly what Pakistan wanted. The choke of the run-flow has brought about misjudgment in running between the wickets and Colin de Grandhomme is the victim of that mix-up. Brilliant effort from Shadab Khan. Quick to the ball, efficient pick-up and a well-aimed throw. New Zealand are now in a spot of bother.
One brings two! Munro's departure was much needed but Pakistan will be delighted with the wicket of Kame Williamson. The Kiwi skipper tried to work the ball towards the leg side but only managed to find the leading edge and a simple catch for Imad Wasim. And there he goes with the trademark Ronaldo celebration!
Huge breakthrough for Pakistan! Munro tried going downtown but didn't get his timing right and ended up offering a simple catch to the long on fielder. A quality knock comes to an end. It's not going to be easy for New Zealand from here on.
Fifty for Munro! Gets their with a couple of runs towards point. The left-hander started on a blistering fashion but have slowed down a bit. He still hasn't thrown away his wicket and that's the key. If New Zealand want to chase this total down, he will have to bat at least till the 16-17 overs.
End of 10 overs and New Zealand are 66 for 1. Spinners have stopped the run flow but the visiting side still have nine wickets left. It's important that these two batsmen carry on and take this innings forward.
Edge and that rolls towards the third man, spoils the entire over. Kane Williamson is going to be the key here. The skipper is someone who holds the innings together and other batsmen will look to bat around him. NZ - 57/1 in 8 overs.
Super first over from Mohammad Hafeez! The offspinner gave no room to Munro whatsoever. Kept it nice and easy and conceded only one run.
Hasan Ali has got the knack of picking wickets. That was back of a hand and Phillips ended up playing his shot early. The ball kissed the inner half of the willow and hit the stumps. New Zealand lose their first wicket.
Munro welcomes Hasan Ali with a six over long on and then follows it up four towards fine leg. New Zealand are off to a solid start.
Imad dropped one full and that allowed Munro to get underneath it and blast it over long off for a single. Munro then cleared his front leg and got another six over long on. And ends the over with a reverse sweep for four. 14 off the fifth over. New Zealand - 38 without loss.
Phillips and Munro are finally getting into the attack. The two hit a boundary each in the fourth over - towards mid-wicket and fine leg respectively - and that will give them some confidence.
Another tidy over from Imad Wasim. Munro was trying to go hard at him but the left-arm spinner kept it tight and simple. New Zealand - 12 without loss at the end of three overs.
Both Glenn Phillips and Colin Munro had a very good CPL. The former got one half-volley and smashed it towards cover for the first boundary of the innings.
Imad Wasim was phenomenal in the first two T20Is against Australia. He is not someone who turns the ball but instead gets the ball to come back in with the angle. New Zealand will look to play him with the straight bat. Imad delivers a good first over and almost trapped Phillips right in front of the stumps.
And, we are back!
Pakistan lost their openers quite early before Asif Ali (24) and Mohammad Hafeez (45) brought them back on track with a 67-run stand. New Zealand then kept chipping away with wickets but 34 from Sarfraz Ahmed and little cameos from Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim led Pakistan to 148 for 6. New Zealand bowlers did a decent job and they were amazing on the field. However, Pakistan have got to that total that Australia failed to breach in all the three T20Is. Can New Zealand do it? We will have to wait and see...
Imad Wasim smokes the last two deliveries for a four and six and Pakistan end at 148 for 6. Total of 14 runs coming off the final over from Southee.
Faheen Ashraf ruins the over with a six of the last delivery. Adam Milne was mixing his pace nicely and Ashraf finally managed to get one off the middle of his bat. The ball cleared the deep mid-wicket with ease. Last over coming up.
How good New Zealand have been on the field? Faheem Ashraf played this one towards long on with soft hands and Malik thought there was easy two there. Anderson, however, got quickly towards the ball and got the direct hit at striker's end. This is terrific from Blackcaps! Pakistan 123 - 6 in 18 overs.
LATEST UPDATE: Huge breakthrough for Pakistan! Munro tried going downtown but didn’t get his timing right and ended up offering a simple catch to the long on fielder. A quality knock comes to an end. It’s not going to be easy for New Zealand from here on.
PREVIEW: After a resounding victory over Australia in the Test and T20I series, Pakistan will look to extend their dominance over the other half of the Trans-Tasman rivalry – New Zealand. The visitors will start a long tour of the UAE with a three-match T20I series starting on Wednesday.
New Zealand’s biggest challenge heading into the series is to arrest the run-flow from Babar Azam’s bat. Pakistan’s in-form batsman has registered scores of 50, 45, 68*, 51 and 97 in his last five T20I outings, during which his average reads 103.66 along with a tremendous strike-rate of 131.22. But he is fighting a lone battle as the middle order has failed to deliver in the games against Australia, failing to build on the good start provided in all the games by the top three. And with Fakhar Zaman sidelined with a knee injury, which led to him missing out the third T20I, Shoaib Malik, who will join the side on the day of the game after the birth of his child, Sarfraz Ahmed, Asif Ali and Mohammad Hafeez need to step up to compensate for the missing southpaw. Pakistan’s bowling, unlike their batsmen, were a cohesive unit, managing to defend below-par scores of 155, 147 and 150 in the matches against Australia but they will be facing a stiffer task with the likes of Colin Munro, captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor instead of Australia’s inexperienced batsmen.
While New Zealand does boast of better-seasoned players, the remainder of the squad have the same Achilles Heel as their Trans-Tasman rivals – spin bowling. Apart from Williamson and Taylor, the rest of the line-up are susceptible, something Shadab Khan, the highest wicket-taker in the previous series (6) and Imad Wasim will be looking to capitalize on. A notable return for the Kiwis is that of all-rounder Corey Anderson. The 27-year-old had to miss out on 16 months of international cricket due to back troubles, with his previous game for New Zealand being in the 2017 Champions Trophy. Anderson will have Colin de Grandhomme to give him company as an all-rounder. A big miss for the visitors will be the services of Mitchell Santner, who was ruled out for nine months after his right knee problem worsened in March, which has given room for uncapped 30-year-old Ajaz Patel. The left-arm spinner will have Ish Sodhi to partner him in the spin department. Tim Southee and Adam Milne are likely to make up the pace attack, with Lockie Ferguson maybe getting a look-in instead of the latter.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Sahibzada Farhan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Khan Shanwari, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Corey Anderson, Mark Chapman, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.