All’s well that ends well and Pakistan will be following this mantra as they wrapped up the three-match T20I series against New Zealand with a win in the last match.
A Muhammad Rizwan masterclass at the top of the order combined with Pakistan’s decision to finally go for the chase in the third T20I saw them beat New Zealand by four wickets.
The Men in Green now play two Tests against New Zealand on the tour, but before that it is important to take a look at the things which helped Pakistan beat the Kiwis and gain the much-needed momentum going into the five-day format.
1. Bowl first
Pakistan won the toss in all three matches and planned to defend total rather than chase them due to their lack of confidence in the batting department.
However, fortune favours the brave and when Pakistan decided to go out of their way and chase in the last T20I, the move paid dividends for them.
Even with a steep target on the board, Pakistan raced past the finish line with ease all thanks to Rizwan’s 89 and Muhammad Hafeez’s quick-fire 41 at the one-down position.
It was a good sign to see Pakistan chase and that too successfully, as they might be asked to do so in the upcoming Test series too and the confidence gained in the last T20I may help them when the five-day matches start.
2. Counterattack against bounce
Pakistani batsmen have always struggled to cope with bounce when they visit places like New Zealand, Australia or England, however, the final T20I saw batsman pull rather than duck against the shorter ball.
In the first and second T20Is, New Zealand used short-pitched deliveries successfully against Pakistani batsmen and reaped rewards in the form of wickets. But Pakistan came prepared for the short-ball barrage this time around and the spectators were treated to some pull shots which mostly cleared the boundary.
With the Tests around the corner, Pakistan will want to further try and perfect their technique against the short balls in order to give the New Zealand side a tough time.
3. Go on the offence
When you are chasing a considerable total, the batsmen need to take pressure away from themselves and transfer it to the bowler in order to survive.
Pakistan’s strategy of scoring a boundary at the start of nearly every over worked wonders for them and eventually saw them break the red tape for the first time on this New Zealand tour.
Rizwan should be given credit here for his attacking batting, where he didn’t let any Kiwi bowler get under his skin and made sure he started the over with a boundary or a six on the first or second ball of the over.
During his partnership with Hafeez after opener Haider Ali got dismissed cheaply was the reason Pakistan did not have too many runs and too less balls to score them at the end of the innings, even when they lost a few quick wickets at the end.
To sum the series up, a young Pakistan side showed signs of greatness against a stable New Zealand side, but if they can iron out the flaws that saw them lose the series 2-1, they can become one of the most favoured contenders for next year’s World T20.