Corey Anderson's magnificent comeback seals the series for New Zealand
After going 1-0 up in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand, Pakistan lost the series 1-2 today in Wellington as New Zealand won the series-decider by 95 runs at Westpac Stadium. The victory came due to the heroics of Corey Anderson, who made a thundering return to international cricket after spending seven months away from the field due an injury.
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi won the toss and decided to bowl. New Zealand started off well as their opening duo of Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson made a blazing start. Guptill played an aggressive innings of 42 of just 19 balls.
But it was Corey Anderson who stole the show for the Kiwis. His knock of 82 of 42 balls was a supreme show of limited-overs batting. The hosts put up a total of 195 for the loss of five wickets in the scheduled 20 overs. The Black Caps reached the total without their premier batsman Ross Taylor, who got injured while batting and hence retired hurt.
The pick of the Pakistani bowlers was Wahab Riaz, who picked up two wickets, while the Pakistan captain, Shahid Afridi got one, with two run-outs being effected in the field.
In reply, Pakistan never got going after they lost both their openers in quick succession. None of the Pakistani batsmen apart from wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed, who played a fighting innings of 47 of 36 balls, were able to stay on the pitch for long. The visitors were bowled out for a total of 101 this losing the match by 95 runs, and also, the series with it.
Anderson contributed with the ball as well by picking up two crucial wickets. But the real bowling hero for the Blackcaps was Adam Milne, who picked up 3/8, and the all-rounder Grant Elliott, who returned with figures of 3/7. Fast bowler Trent Boult also chipped in with a wicket.
New Zealand made a dramatic comeback to win the series after they had lost the first T20 match in Auckland on January 15. This is a clear indication that this Blackcaps side is a force to reckon with in the upcoming ICC World T20 starting in March.
Brief scores: New Zealand 196/5 (Anderson* 82, Guptill 42; Riaz 2/43) beat Pakistan (toss) 101 (Sarfaraz 47, Malik 14; Elliott 3/7, Milne 3/8) by 95 runs.
Man of the match: Corey Anderson.