So! What is your gut feeling now? Have Pakistan let go of the game? Or has the pitch become better for batting? The run chase resumes in a while.
Mickey Arthur says that Pakistan bowled well and hit the right areas. Admits that the ball turned and the bowlers executed their plans really well. Praises Shaheen Afridi for his performance today and agrees that he is just 19, so it will be difficult to be consistent at this age. Marvels at the fact that Afridi bowled just 1 bad ball in his first spell. On the Neesham-de Grandhomme stand, Mickey feels that the bowling was not bad, but the batting was excellent. Praises the duo for showing how to bat on a tricky wicket. On the chase, Arthur is confident that his lads can do that, just a matter of patience and hanging in there.
Hard to fault Pakistan. They had New Zealand on the ropes. What hit them? Craftful and intelligent batting. On a turning track, the spinners could take only 1 wicket, so that is a negative as well as a positive sign. Negative because they could have wrapped up the innings. Positive because that shows that their batsmen will not face too much of an issue with the ball not moving around that much. Here is their coach Mickey Arthur giving an interview.
Everything looked seemingly lost for New Zealand around the halfway mark. They had lost half their side, including the skipper, the ball was seaming around and even starting to turn as well. But Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham dug in. They grafted and grafted and grafted and eventually, Pakistan started to lose patience, committing errors in the field. The duo took full toll in the final 5 overs, as the Kiwis amassed 53, with 18 of those coming in the 47th over alone.
An innings which belonged to Pakistan in the first half but then the Kiwi all-rounders took centrestage. In what was expected to be a challenge to bat against the new balls, New Zealand stuttered, losing half their side under 100, with three batsmen in the top 5 gone for single digits. Afridi was stunning, with his 3 wickets in the first spell rocking the Kiwis hard. Then, came the all-rounders Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme.
Wow. Simply wow. The Kiwis are always known for their never-say-die-spirit. They have shown it today again. From a position where they were struggling to touch even 150, they have crossed 200.
49.6 overs (6 Runs) SIX! THRASH! What a way to end the innings! Neesham has given the Black Caps a realistic possibility of entering the semis today itself. A short ball, around off, Jimmy rocks back and pulls it over mid-wicket for a biggie! NEW ZEALAND FINISH ON 237/6!
49.5 overs (2 Runs) Full and outside off, chipped over mid off for a couple.
49.5 overs (1 Run) WIDE. Miles outside off, left alone.
49.4 overs (2 Runs) Ohhh... Riaz is going mad at his mates now. Poor Sarfaraz has turned his back. He has nothing left to tell. Sorry. Yell. Full and outside off, Neesham drives it through the covers. The batsman take just a single. Now, Jimmy wants the second but Sarfraz yells, 'BOWLER!' But Wahab is blinded by Neesham and hence gets out of the way as he sees the throw coming at him from Imam at the last moment. He is not able to stop it with his left hand and it goes to deep mid-wicket and the batsmen snatch another run!
49.3 overs (0 Run) A dot ball! A yorker, around middle, dug out back to the bowler.
49.2 overs (2 Runs) Another full toss, this is worked through mid-wicket for a well-run couple. Riaz is not happy with the fielder on that occasion.
49.1 overs (1 Run) A full toss outside off, Santner gets across and drives it towards long off for a single.
48.6 overs (1 Run) A short ball, right at the head, Santner looks to tuck it away but misses and is hit on the grille of the helmet. The ball deflects away and a leg bye is taken.
48.5 overs (1 Run) A slower bouncer, on middle, Neesham looks to duck and does so. Sarfaraz gets a bad bounce and the ball goes off his gloves towards short third man. A bye stolen.
48.4 overs (1 Run) Down the leg side, helped towards fine leg for a run.
48.3 overs (2 Runs) A full toss on middle, flicked through mid-wicket for a couple.
48.2 overs (1 Run) Full and outside off, driven through mid off for a single.
48.1 overs (0 Run) Around off, defended to the off side.
47.6 overs (1 Run) Outside off, fuller in length, pushed through the covers for a single.
47.5 overs (1 Run) Defended off the front foot by the batsman presenting the full face of the bat. One run added to the total.
Mitchell Santner comes in at number 8, replacing de Grandhomme.
47.4 overs (1 Run) OUT! De Grandhomme is indeed run out. Excellent fielding from Mohammad Amir. Another super slow ball, on a length, outside off, Colin waited for it and guided it towards third man. He thought he could steal the second and charged back. However, Amir charged in from fine leg, got to the ball and fired a rocket throw to his keeper cum skipper. Sarfaraz had to stretch a little but managed to gather and disturb the stumps. CdG was walking off but the umpire still referred it upstairs. Replays show that the batsman is gone. End of a massive 132-run stand. Could be match-winning.
Quick couple? Or a run out? De Grandhomme is walking off. He is not even waiting for the decision even though it has been referred upstairs. Replays seem to show he is short.
47.3 overs (1 Run) A slower ball, delivered in June, comes in November, Jimmy looks to pull but is months early. The ball goes off the toe end of the bat towards third man. A run taken.
47.2 overs (0 Run) Around off, defended watchfully.
47.1 overs (4 Runs) FOUR! TAKE THAT! Good effort in the deep but this was hit with disdain. A short ball, around off, Neesham pulls it through mid-wicket. Two fielders converge. Zaman gets across from deep mid-wicket and dives, parrying the ball away. However, because Babar Azam from long on has gone past him, the ball goes past Azam and touches the fence!
46.6 overs (4 Runs) FOUR! 18 from the over and this is now the most expensive one of the innings! Really poor bowling. Full and down the leg side, de Grandhomme flicks it through the vacant fine leg region!
46.5 overs (1 Run) Yorker outside off, dug out for a quick run.
46.4 overs (1 Run) Full again, slightly wider outside off, blasted down once more, but this time straighter to the man, hence just a single.
46.3 overs (4 Runs) FOUR! This is brute power. Every second ball is a slower one and both batsmen are picking the variation with ease. But what a hit. Full and outside off, de Grandhomme hammers it down the ground. Babar Azam has to move just 5 yards to his right but cannot get there! 200 UP FOR NEW ZEALAND! Can they get to 230 from here?
46.3 overs (1 Run) WIDE. Full and miles outside off, left alone.
46.2 overs (1 Run) On middle, lofted down to long on for a single.
46.1 overs (6 Runs) SIX! SPANKED! This was in the slot again. Full and outside off, Neesham gets down on a knee and slog sweeps it massively over mid-wicket!
45.6 overs (1 Run) The ball strikes the batsman very low on the pads. They pick up a single. The umpire signals a leg bye.
45.5 overs (1 Run) The batsman works it down the leg side. One run added to the total.
45.4 overs (2 Runs) Full on middle, Colin flicks it through mid-wicket. That should have been just a single but Imam-ul-Haq takes a start after the ball comes to him. The batsmen take just a single but Neesham spots Imam's laziness and comes halfway down the track. Both the batsmen are within handshaking distance of each other but for some reason, Imam throws it to the bowler, instead of the keeper. An easy run out was on the cards. For the first time today, Sarfaraz is looking frustrated.
45.4 overs (1 Run) WIDE. Full and well outside off, de Grandhomme reaches out to steer but misses.
45.3 overs (1 Run) Outside off, tapped towards point for a quick run.
45.2 overs (1 Run) That is a terrific yorker, on middle, de Grandhomme slips but manages to work it through mid-wicket for a single.
45.1 overs (0 Run) Landed outside off, played straight to point.