New Zealand has been accused of playing a “timid” brand of cricket after being handily beaten by underdogs Pakistan in the T20 World Cup semi-final.
Despite being one of the form teams throughout the tournament’s group stages, the Black Caps proved to be no match for the rampant Pakistanis, who ran out seven-wicket winners to book their first T20 final ticket since winning the tournament back in 2009.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, New Zealand’s approach was a stark contrast to its swashbuckling batting performance in the World Cup opener against Australia at the same venue just weeks earlier.
READ MORE: Records tumble as Pakistan books final ticket
READ MORE: New Zealand star grilled by great over dismissal
READ MORE: Sri Lanka probes casino ‘fight’, other ‘incidents’
Skipper Kane Williamson, who has come under fire for his scoring rate, once again struggled to accelerate, eating up 42 balls for his 46 before being dismissed in the latter overs.
While New Zealand’s bowlers were well below their best, former Australian international Callum Ferguson pointed the finger squarely at the Black Caps’ batting performance.
“I thought New Zealand was a little bit timid, to be honest,” he said on Nine’s coverage.
“I thought they sat back a little bit with the bat early and didn’t take the new ball on when it looked a very dry wicket. From what we’ve seen in the last week or two, that was the time to cash in and they didn’t.
“They were timid and they’ve been punished tonight by a Pakistan side that has serious momentum now, they are looking every bit the champions.”
The contrast in the two teams’ performances was evident in the boundary count. New Zealand mustered just 12 in total in its innings, while Pakistan’s openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam hit nine inside the first six overs of the run chase.
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor echoed Ferguson’s sentiment, saying the match was decided by the batting powerplays in either innings, both of which were won comprehensively by Pakistan.
“New Zealand had to win the second powerplay,” he said on Nine’s coverage.
“They lost the first powerplay when they won the toss and elected to bat first and only made 38 with two wickets down (in their first six overs).
Stream all the big matches from the men’s T20 World Cup, including the finals, live and free on 9Now
“When Pakistan came out for the run chase, they had to strike early with the ball. They dropped Babar Azam’s first delivery he faced and that was a big turning point. Steve O’Keefe often talks about these one-ball turnarounds, that was a massive ball in this game because Babar and Rizwan go on to make half-centuries each.
“They won both of those initial stages of both innings and therefore won the game reasonably comfortably.”
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!