Debutant Jacob Duffy and Tim Seifert the difference as New Zealand guts it past Pakistan

Debutant Jacob Duffy and Tim Seifert the difference as New Zealand guts it past Pakistan

New Zealand 156 for 5 (Seifert 57, Chapman 34, Rauf 3-29, Afridi 2-27) beat Pakistan 153 for 9 (Shadab 42, Faheem 31, Duffy 4-33, Kuggeleijn 3-27) by five wickets

Bounce, baby! Bounce! There was a fast-bowling feast at Eden Park. And the batsmen were just not welcome.

A rash of mis-hits, screams of annoyance and a flood of wickets suggested Pakistan could not cope with the conditions, where hitting back of a length not only made balls rear up at them, they did so at varying speeds.

Babar Azam, who was at the ground, would have given a firm (broken) thumbs down as he watched his team struggle without him, slipping to 39 for 5. That couldn’t have been the score stand-in captain Shadab Khan was looking for when he won the toss. But things did improve in the back end of the innings, to such an extent that Pakistan made 102 runs in the last nine overs. That gave their bowlers a total of 153 and they made it look pretty big at the start of the New Zealand chase.

Tim Seifert, though, rode the pressure put on him and the rest of his team by a quality attack that was pumped all the way up and produced a half-century that was just about enough to clinch a very tight T20I game.

The debutant’s ball

Jacob Duffy had to wait eight years to make it to international cricket and when he did on Friday night, he picked up a wicket with his second ball. That was the first sign that this wasn’t an Eden Park belter. It stopped on the batsman. It kicked up off the surface. It hit high on his bat. And a flick shot, intended to go along the ground through midwicket, ended up a catch at mid-on.

Duffy finished with 4 for 33, the best figures by a Black Cap on debut, and the Player-of-the-Match award, which was all a lovely bonus considering all he wanted was “not to get knocked out of the park too often”.

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