Jacob Duffy took four wickets in a man of the match debut for New Zealand but it was a catch that didn’t count in the Kiwis’ five-wicket win that left fans in disbelief.
After being presented with his black cap and told by bowling coach Shane Jurgensen to “stay calm and play savage”, the 26-year-old quick made a sensational start, dismissing opener Abdullah Shafique for a duck in his first over.
He then claimed the scalps of Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Hafeez in his second as Pakistan lost three wickets in three balls to slump to 4/20.
The visitors were 5/44 in the 10th over when Shadab Khan sent an uppercut sailing toward deep third man. The shot looked a six for all money, but Duffy tracked it back toward the rope and stretched high to pluck it from the sky.
He only had about a metre of space to stop his momentum and acrobatically contorted his body in a valiant attempt to avoid touching the boundary rope.
But replays showed the finger tips of his left hand had just grazed the triangular advertising wedge, meaning it was a four for Khan.
Khan tried to rescue his side’s innings, smashing 42 from 32 balls before Duffy coaxed a top edge to Sodhi and New Zealand cruised to a win in the first T20 international at Auckland’s Eden Park on Friday.
The Black Caps ended on 5/156 with seven balls to spare after losing the toss and being set a target of 154.
Tim Seifert topscored for the hosts with 57, while Duffy finished with 4/33.
Jacob Duffy took an incredible catch but just touched the rope.Source:Supplied
Haris Rauf was the tourists’ best bowler, taking 3/29. Pakistan had a rocky preparation for the match when 10 of their touring party tested positive for COVID-19 during quarantine after arriving in New Zealand.
Players also received a rebuke from local health authorities for flouting social distancing rules, and were unable to train until they were allowed out of their hotel on December 8.
In contrast, New Zealand were coming off a 2-0 series win over the West Indies and playing in home conditions.
“We looked a little bit rusty out there,” Khan admitted, saying the variable pace of the pitch made it tough for Pakistan’s batsmen.
“We’ve had an international game now so definitely in the next game we’ll do better.”
Jacob Duffy is congratulated by Mitchell Santner after a fine first up performance. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Pakistan’s attack made early inroads as two quick wickets from Rauf restricted New Zealand to 3/72 at the 10-over mark.
Seifert brought up his half century off 35 balls but was out on 57 after a sharp catch from Ashraf, who then dropped an easy chance sitter to give Mark Chapman a life.
Mitchell Santner steered his team to victory with a six to seal the win. The second and third T20s will be played in Hamilton and Napier on Sunday and Tuesday, with the first of two Tests starting in Mount Maunganui on December 26.
– with AFP
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