After an unbeaten 129-run stand between Kane Williamson and Tim Seifert and a four-wicket move from Tim Southee, New Zealand took a 2-0 lead against Pakistan in the T20I series in Hamilton on Sunday.
An impressive 99 * from Mohammad Hafeez wasn’t enough to help Pakistan save the game as New Zealand put in a good all-round performance in the second game at Seddon Park to seal the streak. New Zealand, chasing 164 for a win, was spurred on by the Seifert-Williamson partnership of the century for the second wicket.
Seifert started with a crisp drive from Shaheen Shah Afridi in the first over and carried his form from the first T20I into the game. Martin Guptill looked good at 21 before taking a pull shot to give the deep fielder a catch.
Williamson had a nervous head start on his return, and the duo played it safe until the end of the power play. Only 46 came out of the first six overs. It seemed like a cue for Seifert to open up, and he did so with aplomb, racking up three sixes in the first game after the power play. Wahab Riaz was on the receiving end of some stellar hits.
Seifert finished his second half century trotting in the 10th over, with New Zealand already scoring nine runs per over. Williamson also started from a modest start, hitting Rauf for two fours and six consecutive balls in the 13th game. Soon after, he ended his half-century and the chase seemed to be on the right track, though visitors managed to pull them into the finals.
Previously, Pakistan had won the throw and decided to beat in as many games for the second time. New Zealand had Williamson, Boult and Southee back in line, while Jacob Duffy, who won the player of the game in the final game, was out. The hosts started well with the ball again. Southee was the supreme destroyer when he sent Haider Ali and Abdullah Shafique back that same year.
Mohammad Rizwan, who had started with a couple of fours at Boult’s opening, found the fence a few more times but couldn’t go on when Southee snatched his third. The returning Kiwi Pacer had left Rizwan behind with a terrific out swinger that emerged late.
Hafeez accelerated the pace by two fours each, ahead of Kyle Jamieson and Scott Kuggeleijn in their respective overs immediately after the power play. He lost Shadab Khan on the other end, but Hafeez continued undisturbed.
On the way he was helped by some discarded catches. On the 47th, Devon Conway put a sitter on a deep rear square leg when his trigger from Kuggeleijn went straight to the field player. Conway recovered quickly and shot a throw that forced Hafeez to submerge, but he had made it safely and soon ended half a century, his fourth in the year.
Mohammad Hafeez hits the highest T20I score of his career – 9️⃣9️⃣ * out of 57 balls 😱
🇵🇰 Pakistan ends on 163/6 👌
– ICC (@ICC) December 20, 2020
Seifert and Southee – the second a difficult return catch – also let Hafeez off the hook. He made them count with a brutal attack in the last couple of overs. From 59 out of 39 after the 15th, Hafeez passed 57 balls to 99 * and scored 40 of his last 18 balls, including 18 in the Jamieson final.
163 seemed like a pretty decent total for the crowd, but Seddon Park had never seen a team defend fewer than 185 runs in a T20I game before, and New Zealand held the record with an incredible chase.