A resurgent New Zealand will be eyeing a semi-final berth when they take on a deflated Pakistan in a World Twenty20 group match in Mohali Tuesday.
Smarting under a six-wicket defeat to India, Shahid Afridi’s men need a victory against the table-topping Kiwis to keep their hopes alive of winning the trophy for a second time.
Here’s a brief history of their previous World T20 bouts.
Cape Town – 2007 WT20 Semi-Final
After convincing victories against the Aussies and the Sri Lankans, the Pakistan team, under Shoaib Malik, entered the contest with their heads high and shoulders wide.
Daniel Vettori opted to bat first on the old wicket with the aim of exploiting it in the second inning.
The now forgotten Fawad Alam, making his World T20 debut, drew first blood after the openers accumulated 50 runs. The star of the tournament, Umar Gul, later tormented the opposition with his extraordinary variations to stop New Zealand at 143/8. Gul bagged 3/15 in 4 overs.
Pakistan, in reply, wiped off the target of 144 in 18.5 with six wickets in hand, courtesy the solid foundation laid by Imran Nazir (59 off 41) and Mohammad Hafeez (32 off 21).
Gul was named Player of the Match.
Pakistan had never lost to New Zealand in World Cup semi-finals and they stretched the streak into the shorter format as well.
London – 2009 WT20 Group Stage
Umar Gul dominated New Zealand again and the first inning scorecard had his name imprinted all over it.
The right-arm quick set the Kennington Oval on fire as he ripped apart the Kiwi batting lineup to register the then best T20I bowling figures of 5/6. Vettori’s men were hapless against his precise yorkers that were laced with late swing.
Despite Gul’s ferocious bowling, the highlight of the match was Shahid Afridi’s brilliant catch at the mid-wicket region. Scott Styris, in a counter attack, charged Gul to clear the mid-wicket boundary but the connection with the upper half of his bat. Afridi ran a good 30-meters from the mid-on spot to cup the ball a few steps away from the boundary. The process culminated in Afridi’s signature pose.
Pakistan got off to a quick start in the chase of the paltry 100. Despite a few hiccups in the middle, the chase went smooth and the Boys in Green won by six wickets in 13.1 overs.
Barbados – 2010 WT20 Group Stage
For a third consecutive time, Daniel Vettori led New Zealand in the global T20 tournament. This time under their third captain, Shahid Afridi, Pakistan entered the beautiful Barbados stadium faced with a must-win scenario
Chasing again, Pakistan fell one-run short after their spinners had restricted the Kiwis to 133/7.
Salman Butt and Abdul Razzaq put up a fight after a typical Pakistan batting collapse. With 11 needed off the last over and Razzaq back in the pavilion, Butt hit a four on the first ball off the Man-of-the-Match Ian Buttler. The left-hand batter managed only four runs in the next three balls with a boundary on the third ball. The leg-bye of the penultimate ball bought Abdur Rehman on strike who managed only one off the last ball.
Pallekele – 2012 WT20 Group Stage
In the 2012 edition, both sides were playing under new captains. The only difference: Ross Taylor was Kiwis’ second World T20 captain and Mohammad Hafeez was Pakistan’s fourth. Consistency has never been a hallmark of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s bulky left-handed batsman Nasir Jamshed dominated the first-half of the match with his flawless 56 off 35. His four 6s included a mesmerizing shot over cover, courtesy supple wrist work off Nathan McCullum.
Pakistan posted 177 in 20 overs. The skipper and Jamshed scored 99 of them.
Pakistan bowled New Zealand out in 19 overs in 97 minutes after Saeed Ajmal ran through the latter’s lineup bagging four wickets for 30 runs.
That 13-run win means Pakistan will be going into tomorrow’s encounter with better head-to-head record in World T20s but judging by recent form, Shahid Afridi’s men face a mountainous task against Kane Williamson’s brigade.