Pakistan sink New Zealand in Word Cup ‘grudge match

Pakistan beat New Zealand by five wickets in T20 cricket, a month after New Zealand’s shock abandonment of their Pakistan tour that left the host nation angry and created bad blood between the sides.

Pakistan’s Haris Rauf (R) celebrates the dismissal of New Zealand’s Devon Conway at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on October 26, 2021. (AFP)

Pakistani leaders, fans, and commentators have extolled their cricket team who defeated New Zealand by five wickets in Sharjah –– a win that came over a month after New Zealand’s shock abandonment of their Pakistan tour that created bad blood between the sides.

Pakistan cricket authorities were left fuming after New Zealand ended the September tour minutes before the start of the first one-day international in Rawalpindi, citing an unspecified “security alert”. Pakistan says the emailed threat was sent from India to sabotage the tour.

A week after New Zealand left, England also withdrew their men’s and women’s teams from a tour to Pakistan due to concerns over the “physical and mental health of the players”.

Pakistan slammed England’s “excuses” and the newly elected chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board Ramiz Raja proclaimed New Zealand will be one of the targets in the T20 World Cup.

“We had one team in our target, our neighbours (India), now add two more teams, New Zealand and England,” Raja said last month.

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On Tuesday, Pakistan underlined their credentials as early Twenty20 World Cup favourites when they held their nerve to beat New Zealand by five wickets and secure a second straight victory in the tournament.

Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated the team and called their bowling “outstanding”.

“A good team will analyse its mistakes when it loses. A great team does a thorough analysis of its game even when it wins,” Khan wrote on Twitter.

Raising New Zealand’s abandoned tour, President Arif Alvi hailed Pakistani skills, saying: “Outstanding my dear Green Shirts. You continue with your winning spree and took [out] your disappointment of NZ cancelled tour on the ground.”

“We were angry with New Zealand, India just happened to be in the way,” Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said.

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