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The Jubilee Insurance Presents Brighto Paints Cup 2018 Pakistan vs New Zealand ODI Series, kicked off today with a fever-pitch opener that left both sets of fans excited for more, as Pakistan clinched victory by 2 runs at Zayed Cricket Stadium.

The partnership follows the success of a Gary Kirsten Camp held last Spring holiday in which youngsters under 14 honed their cricketing skills and understanding of the game. This winter ADC will work with Gary Kirsten Cricket to roll out High Performance Camps, for more senior cricketers who want to take their skills to the next level. The camps will run October 21 – 25 and October 28 – Nov 1.

“Gary Kirsten himself will be in Abu Dhabi to personally lead these camps,” explained Al Hashemi. “This means our enrolled cricketers will have the chance to learn from a true record breaker who is renowned for inspiring self-discipline amongst some of the world’s greatest players – a rare opportunity indeed.”

Gary Kirsten, the current Royal Challengers Bangalore batting coach in the Indian Premier League, is noted for his record-equaling score of 275 against England, an innings that lasted over 14 hours and 30 minutes. He still holds the record for the highest innings by a South African in a One Day International; 188 not-out made against the United Arab Emirates during the 1996 World Cup, which is the sixth highest innings of all time in One-Day International cricket, and the highest score in World Cup cricket history.

Pakistan seemed to settle after a slightly nervy start as Mohammed Hafeez racked up a much-needed 45 runs: a decent five 4s and two 6s to his name before being acrobatically caught by Adam Milne. Pakistan reached 100 runs in just over 15 overs and Captain Sarfraz Ahmed was starting to find his form before being caught out for 34. Just two balls after Ahmed was dismissed, Shoaib Malik was run out as Corey Anderson gladly took the bails off the stumps. This gave Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim the challenge to keep their cool on a warm Abu Dhabi evening.

Both batsmen managed to weather the storm, taking their team to 148-6 at the end of their 20 overs. There’s no doubt that Wasim’s battering of the ball in the last two deliveries – a 4 and a 6 – along with the roar of the Pakistan fans, gave the men in green a boost of confidence before returning to the field to bowl themselves. Captain Kane Williamson would have certainly been looking for his Black Caps to come out with the same potency as they did at the start of the match, and his opening batsmen didn’t fail their leader.

Despite not playing a T20i match for almost seven months, New Zealand remained calm at the crease and slowly racked up the runs to a solid 50 in the first 5.4 overs. However, Munro and Glenn Phillips’ partnership was only to last to 51 runs, as Hassan Ali ripped the leg-stump out from under Phillips for an important wicket. 

Munro remained unfazed, reaching 50 runs off 38 balls, but it was only 8 runs later he was caught after sending the ball skywards towards the boundary. A comfortable catch for Shadab Khan was the result of his casual shot.

Some fine fielding from Shadab allowed him to pounce on a sluggish shot from Colin de Grandhomme, as he launched the ball at the wickets and cleared the bails in style. And after 14 overs, there wasn’t much in it with Pakistan on 92-3 and New Zealand on 91-4.

It was however the final two and a half overs that really saw Pakistan squeeze the Kiwis as Hassan Ali took two crucial wickets (Anderson caught by Malik on 18.1 overs) followed by a stump-rattler on Seifert on 18.6 overs. The match drew to a tense close as New Zealand needed 9 runs off 2 balls; it was Pakistan’s 10 off the last two balls of their innings that put the Kiwis in such a tough spot. However it wasn’t enough and Pakistan clinched victory by two runs in an electric end to the match.

Speaking at the post-game press conference, all-rounder and Man of the Match Mohammad Hafeez said: “New Zealand is a great side and they always come up with great ideas, bringing something new to you. And today we saw how they have been excellent with their fielding side and I still believe it will be a tough series for us because we need to hit all our ideas and objectives to beat them.”

Opening batsman Colin Munro, despite the loss, was positive on the team’s performance and the series ahead, saying: “You’ve got to give them credit – their spinners came on and squeezed us and bowled really well…they know these conditions and it suited them tonight and we just got out played. It was a pretty even game I reckon. We didn’t really lose our way.

“We bowled well, our fielding was outstanding. That’s the benchmark we need to set. We can’t be looking down and we’ve got plenty of positives to build on ahead of the next game.”

Colin Munro

Pakistan host New Zealand again at Zayed Cricket Stadium in a week’s time on 7 November, as they compete in the ODI format at 3pm. Tickets can be bought from UAE Exchange, Al Ghurair Exchange, Al Fardan Exchange, KM Trading, as well as q-tickets.com  

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