Before the T20I series began, the tour met its drama from the start. Positive Covid test, isolation breaches, threats from New Zealand that Pakistan were on their final warning and counter-threats of Pakistan returning home anyway.
In the end however, the most important thing was that the tour was given a green signal to be continued for both New Zealand and Pakistan with the preparation of T20I series began.
However, when the tour was ready to go, Pakistan suffered a massive blow as Babar Azam was ruled out of T20I series. Shadab Khan was hand over the leadership in the highly anticipated T20I series. However, Pakistan top order could not cope without the series of Babar and eventually lost the series.
Let’s take a look at the T20I series review.
The hosts were coming off to a 2-0 series win against the West Indies and were in high confidence. They also did suffer a loss of Lockie Ferguson due to injury. They followed up with a separate squads for first T20I and the final two games. Regular captain Kane Williamson was granted paternity leave due to the birth of his daughter while Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Kyle Jamieson were not included in the first T20I.
The first T20I, led by new captain Mitchell Santner, was filled with inexperience squad. But they couldn’t ask for a better start. Jacob Duffy, who made his T20I debut, took 4-33 in his maiden outing. This became the best bowling figures for a New Zealand bowler on T20I debut. New Zealand had Pakistan all over, before their lower order squeezed to 153. The kiwis chased it down with ease.
The second T20I saw the returns of their regular players in Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kane Williamson and Kyle Jamieson. Batted first again, Pakistan were troubled by Tim Southee’s bounce and swing. Again, M Hafeez led the team to 163 with his personal best of 99*. It was not enough as New Zealand were more brutal this time. Both the skipper Williamson and Seifert with his 84* powered New Zealand to 9 wickets victory.
The final T20I saw New Zealand were unchanged as they batted first this time. Devon Convey’s 63 powered New Zealand to 173-7. Pakistan however, were more better in this game than in previous games. Led by Rizwan’s 89, Pakistan won their first match on the tour with 4 wickets victory.
Tim Seifert was excellent throughout the series, with the score of 176 in three innings and averaging 88. He is the leading run-scorer of the series and he was more brutal towards the bowlers. He ended the series as the “Player of the Series”.
Haider Ali, who was expected to take over the top order position and help Pakistan give a solid starts, managed only 22 runs in three outings. Twice in two games, he threw his wicket away while in third game, he was caught on the field brilliantly. Young Abdullah Shafique scored two ducks in the first two games before being dropped. Mohammad Rizwan, before his brilliant 89, scored only 39 runs from 37 balls only and was criticized for his approach.
The bowlers were good in the first game, but were off in the second. Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf played well in the first game, grabbing 5 wickets each. Though Shaheen, who picked two in first game, managed only one more in the next two game. Haris Rauf, despite going over 9, was Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker with 5.
Apart from his batting in the first game, Faheem Ashraf did not click in the next two. But he was excellent in the bowling. He picked 4 wickets, and went only 5.52 which was the best throughout the series.
The most disappointing among the players was the stand in skipper Shadab Khan. Despite his 42 in the first game, he managed only 4 more runs in the next two innings. In bowling where it mattered the most, he failed to pick a wicket and went over 8 per over.
Mohammad Hafeez was Pakistan’s leading run-scorer and behind Tim Seifert overall. In this series, he scored 140 runs and averaging 70. Mohammad Rizwan followed next with 128, averaging 42.66 in the series.
Both sides will now play two World Test Championship matches starting from December 26 in Mount Maunganui before playing the final Test match in Christchurch starting from January 3, 2021.
Pakistan have announced their 17-men Test squad for the first Test. You can read them here.
1st T20I: New Zealand (156-5) beat Pakistan (153-9) by 5 wickets
2nd T20I: New Zealand (164-1) beat Pakistan (163-6) by 9 wickets
3rd T20I: Pakistan (177-6) beat New Zealand (173-7) by 4 wickets
New Zealand (2-1) beat Pakistan in the three-match T20I series
Player of the series: Tim Seifert (New Zealand)