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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Haris Rauf headlines Pakistan's second win of World Cup

Pakistan 135 for 5 (Rizwan 33, Asif 27*, Sodhi 2-29) beat New Zealand 134 for 8 (Mitchell 27, Rauf 4-22) by five wickets

A lot of Pakistan's success is built on a bowling line-up that has more to offer than an Amazon sale. Shaheen Afridi brings the swing. Haris Rauf brings the pace. Hasan Ali brings the hustle. Imad Wasim brings the control. And Shadab Khan brings the magic. New Zealand went up against all of that and came away battered and bruised, their total of 134 never quite enough.

Pressure tells
Pakistan were in control of the game ever since they won the toss and chose to bowl. Eleven of the 20 overs they bowled went for six runs or fewer.

New Zealand tried their best to disrupt a bowling line-up in prime form. They made Daryl Mitchell open the batting for the first time in his professional career. It didn't work. They punted on James Neesham at No. 4. It didn't work.

The pressure that kept piling on them even had an effect on their captain. Kane Williamson, after nudging a back of a length ball into the off side, set off for a single that he normally never would have. But here, with all run-making avenues blocked, he took a few too many paces down the pitch and was sent packing by a Hasan Ali direct hit.

New Zealand were in the middle of a decent sequence at the time, smashing four fours and a six in nine balls. Since that wicket, in the 13th over, there were only three further boundaries.

Pace is pace yaar
Rauf began the game with a 149 kph yorker that literally took Martin Guptill out of the game. He survived that ball but wouldn't field in the second innings. High pace is a point of difference in T20 cricket. It's the reason Pakistan invested in a bowler who only turned professional a mere three years ago.

And while Rauf can set the speed gun on fire, here three of his four wickets came through slower deliveries. It was a sign of his evolution and an understanding of the conditions in Sharjah. One of his balls - at 149 kph - was lashed for four by Mitchell Santner in the 20th over. So, he pulled his pace back. The batter was through with his shot early. The stumps were in all kinds of disarray. And Sharjah kept screaming "Haaaaris! Haaaaris! Haaaaaris!"

The end
A traditional strength of New Zealand's - fielding - and one of a more recent vintage - Ish Sodhi's legspin - allowed this game the veneer of a contest. Pakistan went into the last five overs needing 44 to win. And in conditions that were slow and low that tends to be a tough ask unless someone goes berserk.

So Asif Ali wound up those big strong arms of his and launched the second and third balls of the 17th over clean out of the park. He came into the World Cup on the back of a woeful CPL. But here he was dismantling one of New Zealand's best fast bowlers in Tim Southee to usher his team to a flawless victory.

Pakistan have played 13 T20Is in the UAE since 2016. They have now won every single one of them. If they keep this up, there's going to be a nice, shiny trophy just waiting for them.

Pakistan 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st28Mohammad RizwanBabar Azam
2nd19Mohammad RizwanFakhar Zaman
3rd16Mohammad HafeezMohammad Rizwan
4th6Shoaib MalikMohammad Rizwan
5th18Shoaib MalikImad Wasim
6th48Shoaib MalikAsif Ali

ICC Men's T20 World Cup

First Round Group A
TeamMWLPTNRR
SL33063.754
NAM3214-0.523
IRE3122-0.853
NL3030-2.46
First Round Group B
TeamMWLPTNRR
SCOT33060.775
BAN32141.733
OMAN3122-0.025
PNG3030-2.655
Group 1
TeamMWLPTNRR
ENG54182.464
AUS54181.216
SA54180.739
SL5234-0.269
WI5142-1.641
BAN5050-2.383
Group 2
TeamMWLPTNRR
PAK550101.583
NZ54181.162
INDIA53261.747
AFG52341.053
NAM5142-1.89
SCOT5050-3.543