Unimpressive in New Zealand

January 21, 2024

As the T20 World Cup is just a few months away, performance of the national team should be a matter of concern for the authorities

Unimpressive in New Zealand

After a whitewash in the Test series against Australia, Pakistan also lost the T20 International series in New Zealand.

Change of captains hasn’t changed the results for Pakistan. New Test captain Shan Masood lost the Test series (0-3) in Australia and the new T20 skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi also failed to avoid defeat in the T20I series against the Kiwis.

In the first three matches, Afridi won the toss, put in to bat the opposition and every time, our batsmen failed to chase.

It’s an open secret that Pakistan are not good chasers, but despite the fact, the skipper with the consultation of the management decided to bowl first.

Pakistan last toured New Zealand for a T20I series in 2020-21. It was also won by the hosts, 2-1. The Greenshirts last won in Kiwis’ land in 2017-18 under Sarfaraz Ahmed, by 2-1. In all three matches, Pakistan batted first.

In the ongoing T20I series, Pakistan lost the first T20I in Auckland by 45 runs, second in Hamilton by 21 runs, the third in Dunedin by 46 runs and the fourth in Christchurch by seven wickets.

Pakistan have won only one of their last nine T20 Internationals as they prepare for this year’s World Cup in the United States and Caribbean.

Before starting the T20I series with New Zealand, it was a perception that Pakistan were not good in Tests but are competitive in the shortest format. But New Zealand, especially the batsmen, turned the tables and surprised critics and Pakistani fans.

After landing in New Zealand, Shaheen said: “We have the best opening pair - Babar and Rizwan - of the T20 format.” Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have 2400 runs at the top of the order.

Pakistan have an aggressive batting line including Saim Ayub, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed and Azam Khan, but on the ground all failed to perform upto the expectations.

Pakistan never really had the momentum to approach the substantial totals in the first three matches. Babar scored three fifties in three matches, but failed to convert them into match-winning performances.

Babar has now scored eight T20I fifties against New Zealand, the joint highest for a batsman against a team in men’s T20Is. Babar has scored 742 runs in 19 innings against New Zealand with a century and seven fifties, the second-highest aggregate against an opponent. Former Indian captain Virat Kohli also has eight half-centuries against Australia, while his 794 runs in 21 innings is the highest aggregate against a team.

On the basis of three half-centuries, Babar Azam secured the fourth position in the ICC T20I batting rankings. India’s Suryakumar Yadav is the number one spot, while Phil Salt of England and Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan were placed at number two and three, respectively.

New Zealand’s batsmen have given a tough time to Pakistani bowlers. In the third T20I at Dunedin, Black Cap opener Finn Allen scored 137 runs off just 62 balls. It was the highest individual score of any New Zealand batsman. Allen surpassed former skipper Brendon McCullum’s 123 against Bangladesh in 2012 T20 World Cup.

During the historic innings, Allen hit 16 sixes, equaling the record for most sixes by a batter in a T20I innings — set by Hazratullah Zazai of Afghanistan against Ireland in 2019.

Pakistan middle order failed miserably. Fakhar scored a fifty in the first game, but in the next three games his bat remained silent. He scored 93 runs in four matches. Iftikhar Ahmed also failed to perform. He scored only 39 runs in four matches. Azam Khan is the best performer in domestic cricket at number 5 and 6 position. His average and strike rate are the best in Pakistan at these positions, but internationally he has failed to deliver. He was included as a wicket-keeper batsman to make the middle-order strong, but he proved that he is a league player and can’t take the pressure of international matches. He managed only 22 runs in three matches, averaging just 7.33.

Mohammad Rizwan returned to form with a superb 90 not out in the fourth game. Young Saim Ayub played a quick cameo of 27 runs from eight balls in the first match, featuring three sixes and two boundaries, but in the next two games scored only 11 runs.

Not only batting, Pakistan’s bowling also failed to impress. Pakistani bowlers failed to restrict Kiwis batsmen in the powerplay.

Seasoned Haris Rauf and Shaheen took seven wickets each in the first four matches but they were quite expensive.

The economy rates of Aamer Jamal (12.12) and spinner Usama Mir (11.25) showed that New Zealand players played freely.

As the T20 World Cup is just a few months away, performance of the national team should be a matter of concern for the authorities.

NOTE: All statistics are updated upto the fourth T20I between Pakistan v New Zealand.


Unimpressive in New Zealand