New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st T20I, Auckland January 15, 2016

Pakistan win Amir's comeback game


Pakistan 171 for 8 (Hafeez 61, Milne 4-37) beat New Zealand 155 (Williamson 70, Munro 56) by 16 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Play 04:11
Highlights - Pakistan's bowlers drag New Zealand down

New Zealand threatened Pakistan's total of 171 for 8 through fifties to Colin Munro and Kane Williamson, but the many strands of Pakistan's varied attack came together to truss up the hosts, 17 runs short of their target. The pace trio of Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul and Mohammad Amir created chances, while the spin of Imad Wasim, and Shahid Afridi provided economy. Mohammad Hafeez had earlier provided the base for Pakistan's innings, with 61 from 47 balls from the top of the order.

Wahab was left to defend 20 runs from the final over, with Williamson on strike. He had the batsman caught at deep square leg first ball to effectively seal the match, before taking the final wicket of the innings off the last ball. New Zealand's chase had begun slowly before being invigorated by Munro. They gave up most ground during the middle overs, when four middle-order wickets were lost for 18 runs.

Amir's part in his international return was relatively low-key, but full of frustration. He had Williamson dropped off his bowling in the fourth over, then had another straightforward catch spilled towards the end of the match. He eventually took the wicket of Matt Henry in the penultimate over to finish with figures of 1 for 31 from four overs. Wahab claimed three scalps, Gul and Afridi took two wickets apiece, while Wasim returned 1 for 18 from his full quota.

Williamson had made a stuttering start to his innings, as Pakistan introduced spin as early as the second over - most likely to upset Martin Guptill's rhythm in the early overs. Williamson was on two from six balls when he ran Guptill out in the second over, and then continued to progress slowly. He was 10 from 20 balls at one stage, and his first boundary came off the 36th ball he faced - as late as the 12th over.

In between Colin Munro had blasted 56 off 27 balls and got out. He sent six balls over the rope - memorably uppercutting Gul over third man in a fifth over that yielded 23 runs - as he reeled in New Zealand's required rate. His departure heralded a middle-order collapse. Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Grant Elliott and Mitchell Santner all fell in single figures.

Williamson attempted to resurrect the innings from 109 for 6 after 15 overs, but continued to lose partners just as he discovered fluency. He struck smart, square boundaries to keep his side alive, but was eventually out for 70 off 60 balls.

Perhaps wary of being fatally seduced by the size of the Eden Park boundaries, Hafeez saw out the first over, scoreless, then moved to five off ten balls before he became more ambitious. A lap-scoop off Trent Boult and a slap over the covers next ball moved him into a higher gear, before he plundered 18 runs off Corey Anderson's first international over in six months, hitting three fours and a six on the off side.

That over helped lift Pakistan to 62 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay. Hafeez progressed at a more even pace when the field relaxed and New Zealand applied their spinners in tandem. Debutant legbreak bowler Todd Astle was the more expensive of the pair, as Hafeez and Shoib Malik lifted him over the rope in a three-over spell that cost 28. Having had Soahib Maqsood stumped first ball, then also taking the wicket of Malik, Santner didn't give away a boundary in his four overs, which conceded just 14.

Hafeez mined the gaps in the outfield to near fifty, which he reached off 36 balls. He freed his arms again when pace returned to the attack, sending Boult over the covers again, then swatting a Milne bouncer to the wide long-on fence, but holed out at deep square leg off Milne's next ball.

Shahid Afridi burned typically brightly for a typically brief period of time. He rocked the 16th over - bowled by Matt Henry - cracking two sixes and two fours in a span of four balls, but was out soon after. Having dropped a catch off Umar Akmal earlier, Kane Williamson held on to the chance from Afridi, leaving the batsman with 23 from 8 balls.

Having been 147 off 5 after 17 overs, Pakistan might have hoped for total in excess of 180, but good death bowling from Adam Milne and Henry in the two final overs thwarted those ambitions. Imad Wasim contributed a valuable 18 from 9 balls.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Garry on January 17, 2016, 18:57 GMT

    Williamson is a star, he had a ordinary good innings. Big deal. Kholi was just as bad/good across the dutch today. How many no balls from Pakistan today :)

  • Cam on January 17, 2016, 1:02 GMT

    FawadAlam4Lyfe ???? Really In that case NZ should be lucky not be destroyed by everyone who has a bigger population regardless of the quality of the side ? Clearly you missed the drawn test series and ODI series win by NZ against Pakistan. Population has only a small part of what makes a good side. Look at Indian getting pasted by Australia so clearly population had nothing to do with it,.

  • Neo on January 16, 2016, 14:19 GMT

    I Just scrolled down and found very funny and loud comments, looks like sooth sayers saw too many day dreams. Well Come Back Amir.

  • FawadAlam4Lyfe on January 16, 2016, 13:54 GMT

    Credit to NZ, the fact that you werent destroyed is an accomplishment. Pak has a population of more than 50x that of NZ, and paks main sport is cricket, whereas NZ main sport is rugby. So people should stop bashing NZ. Jus' sayin'

  • Zain on January 16, 2016, 11:01 GMT

    Cheers to all the Kiwi fans who have posted nice and objective comments. This is the way to go for all the fans. Enjoy the game and don't get carried away. Good luck to Pakistan and New Zealand.

  • Vaishak on January 16, 2016, 9:33 GMT

    It's wrong to say Williamson shud not play t20.. as the boy showed towards the tad end of the innings, he can play d shots...and he can score at will...This innings though wasn't paced well.. I believe he can go for d shots after settling in itself,without always playing anchor role..more than capable of it..

  • umair on January 16, 2016, 9:24 GMT

    I'm from Pakistan and I believe Williamson is amongst the top five, top five being Joe Root, ABD, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Amla. Amla being at five. Warner, Kohli, and Faf can't play outswingers so they have limitations, and sharma can't play test cricket. Joe root or Kane are at the moment real top class above ABD, for me. I wish Pakistan team gets a batsman of 75% of KW in T20 and ODIs as in test Younis Khan is quite good.

  • nasar on January 16, 2016, 8:49 GMT

    What is this fascination with rizwan? The guy can't bat as shown during the England series. Azam should be next in line but when fit Haris sohail should be there. Ahmad shahzad should be out too the guy is pretty poor let's be honest and even looks overweight now. Sarfaraz to open with hafiz and I would even have u.akmal to bat at number 3 followed by malik and Azam. Afridi wants u.akmal lower down the order because he can clear the boundaries at the end of the innings but I feel he is wasted there, needs to be top of the order where he can do more damage

  • Steve on January 16, 2016, 7:24 GMT

    Difficult to understand how people can judge Williamson's T20 ability in a game where apart from Munro and himself, the rest of the team scored 18 runs. Williamson has a T20 International average of 33.59 (13th in the world) at a strike rate of 127.63. That makes him world class in anyone's book. He is also the 4th ranked one day batsman in the world. I wish people would think a bit more before making ridiculous comments about his suitability as a T20 player on this website! The run where Guptil got run out was Williamson's call, Guptil either needed to commit to the run or say no earlier, he was ball watching, so tough to blame it on his partner.

  • Moiz on January 16, 2016, 7:02 GMT

    @viraj09.. if ranking is all the thing then south Africa is the greatest of all in all conditions.. but they were thrashed handsomely by india in subcontinent.. that's means you just need to play good cricket and forget about the ranking.. the ranking will improve ... so keep in mind mate

  • No featured comments at the moment.