LAHORE: New Zealand captain Tom Latham offered no excuses as a career-best performance from Haris Rauf ensured Pakistan handed the Black Caps an 88-run hammering in the first Twenty20 international in Lahore on Friday.
Pakistan hit 182 runs and Latham’s side fell well short of their target despite a hat trick from Matt Henry, with Rauf claiming four wickets for 18 runs to leave New Zealand on 94 all out with more than four overs remaining.
“Our preparation was not ideal but we will not use that as an excuse,” said Latham, whose team are missing top eight players due to Indian Premier League.
“We did not quite adapt to the conditions early enough. We did well up top and in patches with the ball. “On that surface, the [Pakistan] score was slightly above-par. We did not build partnerships with the bat and once the rate went up, we had no choice but to go hard.”
Fakhar Zaman and Saim Ayub both hit 47 in a 79-run stand to allow Pakistan to establish control before Henry claimed the wickets of Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed and Shaheen Shah Afridi across two overs to secure his hat-trick.
But it was the bowling display of Haris that swung the game in Pakistan’s favour, the 29-year-old recording his best-ever figures in a T20 international.
“It was a team effort,” said Pakistan captain Babar Azam. “Two wickets fell early but then Fakhar and Saim built the innings. “The pitch was assisting the bowlers so it was a good batting performance [to get that score].
“We had a complete bowling unit and the way Shaheen [Shah Afridi] and Zaman [Khan] started, Haris bowled and the way our spinners bowled was excellent.”
It was Babar’s 100th international match in the shortest format and he was happy at reaching a personal landmark.
“I had never expected this. I still remember the journey of starting off here as a ball-boy on the side-lines, and to now be here, it is a huge honour,” said Babar of serving as a ball-boy during the 2007 series against South Africa.
Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2023