The belated return gift
On his birthday last year, Ross Taylor had been let off twice by Kamran Akmal early and had capitalised to make a matchwinning counter-attacking century in Pallekele in a World Cup game against Pakistan. Taylor returned the favour today, putting down a sitter at slip when Mohammad Hafeez was still on 0. Hafeez went on to make 43.
Nasir Jamshed, a solid left-hander, is often compared to Graeme Smith for his burly physique and a clear preference for the on-side. Soon after coming in at No. 3, Jamshed played two exquisite lofted shots over extra cover off Nathan McCullum that were timed so well, both sailed over the rope for six.
The underused resource
New Zealand played an extra fast bowler, Adam Milne, in place of an injured Martin Guptill. Milne was the sixth bowler to be brought on and got just one over. Probably Taylor felt he could unnerve Pakistan by putting an extra fast bowler in the team.
The crowd goes 'boom boom'
Shahid Afridi has fans everywhere. He jogged out to bat in the 19th over to cries of 'boom boom' from the sizeable crowd on the grass banks and in the grandstand. The fans went berserk when Afridi cut his first delivery to the backward point boundary. Later, he bowled Rob Nicol in his first over, and stood in his trademark celebration style, feet wide apart, one hand high in the air, making the crowd go wild again.
Hafeez, with figures of 4-0-15-0. Nine of those runs came off his final three deliveries.
When New Zealand's second wicket fell, Daniel Vettori walked in. When their third wicket fell, Jacob Oram walked in. Where is Ross Taylor, was the question in everyone's mind? Surely, he wasn't punishing himself for that Hafeez drop? He finally came in at No. 6.