Images from the T20 World Cup Super 12s match between New Zealand and Pakistan, in Sharjah, on Tuesday.
Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik’s late blitz steered Pakistan to their second straight victory in the T20 World Cup as they beat New Zealand by five wickets in the Super 12s match, in Sharjah, to go top of Group 2, on Tuesday.
The ball was on top for much of the match, and New Zealand looked to be heading to victory in their first game of the tournament when wickets tumbled through the middle overs, including one to an outstanding catch from Devon Conway.
But Ali and Malik produced a flurry of boundaries at the death to reach the target of 135 with eight balls remaining.
Earlier, Pakistan openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan picked up where they left off against India, controlling the Powerplay before Tim Southee gave New Zealand a sniff when he bowled the Pakistan captain for 9.
Zaman’s scratchy innings came to a close with 11 off 17 when he was trapped in-front by Ish Sodhi.
There was still a lot for the Kiwis to do, and a dangerous Mohammad Hafeez looked intent on getting the chase over in a hurry as he raced to 11 off just five balls.
But the match swung when Hafeez lofted his sixth ball to the long-off boundary where he was sensationally caught by a diving Conway in the catch of the tournament so far.
Pakistan’s chances of victory took a further blow when Rizwan fell to Sodhi with the target still 66 runs away and with the top four all back in the hutch.
But Pakistan lit it up at the back end of the innings, with Ali particularly ferocious, slamming three sixes in his 27 off just 12 balls
Malik finished with a similarly crucial 27 (20), but it was his partner who hit the winning runs, banging his third six over wide long-on off Trent Boult before rolling a two to a similar area to seal the win in the penultimate over.
Earlier, pacer Haris Rauf took four wickets for 22 runs as Pakistan’s bowlers turned in a clinical performance to restrict New Zealand a meagre 134 for 8.
The Kiwis were in all sorts of trouble after they were invited to bat in the face disciplined bowling, with opener Daryl Mitchell and Devon Conway top-scoring with 27 each and captain Kane Williamson contributing 25.
New Zealand were unable to get a substantial partnership going, their highest being the 36-run opening stand between Mitchell and Martin Guptill (17).
Shaheen Afridi, Imad wasim and Mohammad Hafeez took a wicket each for Pakistan.
Afridi, who rattled the Indian top-order in Pakistan's 10-wicket win on Sunday, got the swing in the opening over, which was a maiden one. But Mitchell hit a four in his second over which yielded eight runs.
Mitchell then hoisted Hasan Ali for a six as New Zealand looked to take the initiative. But they were unable to come out of the powerplay unscathed as Rauf uprooted Guptill's timbers after the ball took a deflection off the batter's pads.
Mitchell paid the price of going for one too many and holed out to Fakhar Zaman near the ropes after smashing a six off Imad in the ninth over.
New batter James Neesham did not last long; he was out for 1 in the next over off Hafeez, as New Zealand reached 60 for 3 at the halfway mark.
The Kiwis stepped on the gas and took 25 runs from the 12th and 13th overs together with Williamson smashing Hafeez for a six and a four, even as Conway clobbered Shadab Khan for three successive boundaries.
But the Kiwis’ innings took a turn after Williamson was run-out in the 14th over as Hasan Ali's brilliant direct throw off his own bowling dislodged the bails.
New Zealand could only reach the 100-run mark at the end of the 15th over and as runs were hard to come by, they got a four after four overs, only to see Conway and Glenn Phillips (13) get out in the space of three balls in the 18th over bowled by Rauf.