The roller, the lifter
Leaping into the delivery stride of what was meant to be the last ball of the third over, Mohammad Irfan lost his grip on the ball. It rolled away towards slip, and Ross Taylor playfully chased after it, threatening to hit it for four. The umpire signalled dead ball.
Next ball - or the same ball, with no glitches in delivery - was back of a length, on a leg-and-middle line. Taylor rose off his toes, looking to work it away through the leg side. It's a shot that's fraught with danger at the best of times, considering the exaggerated bounce the 7'1" Irfan can generate. This one bounced more exaggeratedly than most, hit the shoulder of Taylor's bat, and popped up into the hands of the point fielder.
Palm d' Or
A couple of overs earlier, Saad Nasim had taken a well-judged catch at deep midwicket, keeping one eye on the ball and one eye on the rope, to send back the dangerous-looking Corey Anderson. That had been off a mistimed pull. Now, James Neesham launched a full one from Raza Hasan high over the on side, and hit it cleanly off the middle. It looked destined to go for six, but Nasim sprinted quickly to his right and leaped like a basketballer about to make a one-handed slam-dunk, right arm at full stretch, and palmed the ball back into the field of play.
Sohail Tanvir, wrong-footing through the crease from around the wicket, eyes turning away towards the cover fielder at delivery point, is a pretty hard bowler to pick up at the best of times. Nathan McCullum, facing him for the first time, in the last over of New Zealand's innings, predictably swung and missed at a slower bouncer. The batsmen chanced their luck and sneaked a bye as the ball rolled through to Sarfraz Ahmed, whose underarm flick missed the stumps at the batsman's end.
Next ball, it was Adam Milne's turn to squint at the flurry of limbs that approached the other end and blindly swing at another slower ball. He missed too, and the batsmen took on Sarfraz again. Again the wicketkeeper rolled the ball at the stumps, and again he missed. Tanvir, glaring at Sarfraz with hands on hips, wasn't amused.
Considering the year he has had, there probably isn't a cricket fan left in the world who doesn't know of Sarfraz Ahmed's prowess with the sweep. But even the most educated Sarfraz-watcher would have been rendered agape by the shot he played in the fifth over of Pakistan's chase.
Matt Henry, making his T20 debut for New Zealand, had hurried Sarfraz and beaten him twice in a row in his first over, with back-of-a-length balls in the 140s. Now, Sarfraz stepped down the track to the fifth ball of Henry's second over, got down on one knee, and swept him for a flat six over the deep backward square-leg boundary.