|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Fantasy||Mobile|
The Wisden Bulletin by Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
December 1, 2003
Pakistan 281 for 6 (Elahi 70, Farhat 68, Hameed 53) beat New Zealand 157 (Jones 63, Sami 5-10) by 124 runs
Mohammad Sami: the stuff of nightmares for the New Zealanders
© Getty Images
Mohammad Sami ensured an early finish at Lahore with his venomous swerve and pace as Pakistan comprehensively crushed New Zealand to win the second one-dayer by 124 runs, to go 2-0 up in the five-match series. Saleem Elahi, Imran Farhat and Yasir Hameed all hit half-centuries earlier, before Abdul Razzaq applied some glittering varnish with some thunderous hitting.
The New Zealand run-chase lacked oomph, with the top order resorting to extreme caution. Shabbir Ahmed's probing line and Sami's unerring accuracy bottled up the runs completely at first. Craig Cumming swallowed up 27 balls for his 6, and Mathew Sinclair was never at ease as Shabbir struck two early blows. Cumming's leading edge flew to Shaoib Malik, who took a magnificent airborne catch in the covers, and Sinclair's frustration led to an under-edge crashing into the stumps (36 for 2).
Chris Cairns joined Richard Jones, after Hamish Marshall's short stay was curtailed by a ball from Razzaq that straightened to hit the stumps, and they hinted at a revival. Jones resorted to some effective slog-sweeping, while Cairns pierced the gaps to perfection. When he strode down the wicket to hit the spinners over the top there was a whiff of cordite, but a misjudgment in the 28th over snuffed out all hope. Imran Farhat's flat throw over the stumps caught Cairns marginally short (119 for 4).
Jones was out soon after, trying to slog Malik over midwicket, only to hear the stumps rattled behind him. Drinks were called at 155 for 5, and Jacob Oram and Brendon McCullum already faced an impossible task. But what Sami scripted then was equally remarkable. First Oram came down late on a good-length ball that crashed into off and middle. Tama Canning was bamboozled when he received a wicked yorker first up that swung throughout its trajectory.
Irresistible force: Mohammad Sami sweeps away Tama Canning on his way to 5 for 10
© Getty Images
Daniel Vettori averted the hat-trick, but two balls later sliced one uppishly only for Farhat to catch it diving full-length to his right. And the best was saved for the last ball of the same over, when Paul Hitchcock pushed forward and played a textbook defensive stroke, only for the middle stump to cartwheel several feet back as he'd played down the wrong line. Sami completed the last rites when he bowled McCullum with another swinging yorker. He had polished off the innings with 5 for 2 in 11 balls, and finished with 5 for 10.
But the margin of victory wouldn't have been quite so huge without Pakistan's solid batting performance earlier in the day. Their innings can be divided into three distinct parts. The first 24 overs saw the top order lay a solid foundation, with a century opening stand being the highlight. Farhat's slapped cuts and rasping drives were a contrast to Yasir Hameed's orthodox punches down the ground. Both finally fell to indiscretions after reaching their half-centuries: Hameed top-edged a sickly sweep the ball after reaching his half-century, and Farhat (68) holed out to long-off in a vain attempt to clear the ropes (144 for 2).
Vettori, who finished with 3 for 44, put the brakes on with some good flight and variation, and New Zealand came right back into the match between the 24th and 44th overs. Yousuf Youhana and Misbah-ul-Haq fell cheaply, and it was left to Saleem Elahi to play the anchor role. He paced his 70 well, and picked up the singles as wickets tumbled around him. In the 44th over he smashed three consecutive fours off Oram to bring up his half-century, to herald a period where the runs flowed. Razzaq bludgeoned 42 off 16 balls in a fantastic exhibition of crisp late-overs hitting.
In all 85 runs came off the last seven overs, which left Pakistan well-placed at the halfway point. In the end it was more than enough, as Sami burst New Zealand's bubble with a magic mixture of swerve and zing.
ESPNcricinfo picks five players for whom this IPL is of bigger significance
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi
Having the top Associate team play the lowest-ranked Test side without the threat of relegation shows how votes mean more to the ICC than results
Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it
If they are to live up to their potential in next year's World Cup at home, they need to look within and search for inspiration pronto