They huffed and they puffed, but it's going to take something stronger than the Black Caps to blow down Pakistan's home fortress.

A boundary with two balls remaining from Mohammad Hafeez clinched a remarkable 11th straight Twenty20 series victory for Pakistan, as the hosts chased down 154 to claim a six-wicket win, and take a unassailable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three series.

Once again, the margin of defeat was slightly flattering for the Black Caps, with Pakistan largely in control of their chase, despite a few wobbles, and deserving of continuing their stunning run at home.

These days, home often means the United Arab Emirates for Pakistan, but they have made the conditions their own, and again gave the Black Caps a lesson in the finer arts of the game.


Black Caps captain Kane Williamson believes his side can learn from Pakistan's clinicality.

"They're very clinical over here in these conditions, and very consistent – they're setting a benchmark.

"I think it's important we take little lessons from how they're playing their cricket – we're obviously not far away but [we're] looking to make those little small steps of improvement – they are small margins."

He's right - the Black Caps have come closer than anyone in recent times of tipping over the Pakistan juggernaut, and they gave themselves another chance of victory, only to have the game slip away from them at crucial periods.

In the first innings, it was the middle overs which were a let-down, because Colin Munro had given the visitors a stunning start after they won the toss and plumped to bat first.

Munro had the Black Caps sitting pretty at 47-0 after five overs, but – yet again – the innings stalled after his departure for 44 off 28 balls, with a painful seven overs passing without a boundary.

Williamson (37 off 34) was playing the anchoring role adequately, but he wasn't getting any support, as Glenn Phillips, Colin De Grandhomme and Ross Taylor all went cheaply – and more importantly, slowly – as rotating the strike and accumulating singles proved problematic.

Ross Taylor is run out by Pakistan during the Black Caps' defeat. Photo / Photosport
Ross Taylor is run out by Pakistan during the Black Caps' defeat. Photo / Photosport

Thank the Pakistan slower bowlers for that, who superbly pegged back the run rate, but just as it looked like New Zealand would limp to a below-par total, Corey Anderson came alive.


Striking the ball with immense power through the leg side, Anderson bashed an unbeaten 44 from 25 balls, getting his side to a competitive 153-7.

However, Pakistan were on a run of 10 straight successful T20 runchases, and they made it 11 with a superbly balanced effort. Fakhar Zaman (24 off 15) got them off to a rapid start which was only ended by a stunning one-handed catch from Williamson, but Babar Azam (40 off 41) and Asif Ali (38 off 34) put on a clinic in strike rotation; accumulating more singles than Tinder as Pakistan reached 96-1.

Tidy but non-threatening bowling from the Black Caps kept the run rate challenging though, and they were in with a chance when Pakistan needed 40 from the last four overs. Yet, Pakistan have been in these situations too often to panic, and with wickets in hand, Hafeez launched.

Two sixes off the ineffective Ish Sodhi put the hosts in the box seat, and although a glimmer of hope remained for the Black Caps when the equation read six from four balls, Hafeez made sure Pakistan got home.

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