NZ vs PAK: Fatima Sana headlines Pakistan's historic win

On her return from injury, Fatima Sana snared three top order wickets to rock New Zealand early

Druti Banerjee
New Update
Fatima Sana

Fatima Sana © Getty Images

Fatima Sana couldn’t have asked for a better comeback from her injury as she helped Pakistan create history by defeating New Zealand for the first time in T20Is. Pakistan beat the hosts by seven wickets at the University Oval in Otago on Sunday (December 3).

Before this match, Pakistan and New Zealand teams have met each other eight times in the format and the White Ferns won all eight times. Despite previous records suggesting that the pitches at the University Oval aided the chasing sides, Sophie Devine decided to bat first and things didn’t go New Zealand’s way.

Although Pakistan had a disappointing Bangladesh tour overall, their bowlers have kept the opposition on their toes. And the return of Sana strengthened the bowling attack consisting of Diana Baig, Sadia Iqbal and Nida Dar.

On her comeback, Sana struck early with the big wickets of Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Kate Anderson and Suzie Bates to reduce 59 for 3 inside the first ten overs. In Addition to her bowling performance, Sana also took an amazing catch to remove Devine off Aliya Riaz.

Walking in at five, Maddy Green rescued New Zealand as she scored an unbeaten 43 off 28 balls to steady the ship. Despite Green’s efforts Pakistan restricted the hosts to 127 for 6 from the stipulated 20 overs.

In the chase, Pakistan started with Shawaal Zulfiqar and Muneeba Ali as the opening pair and had a slow start with only nine runs coming in the first three overs. But from there on, the duo put on 40 runs on the board for the opening wicket.

Playing only in his sixth T20I, Zulfiqar made her career-best score of 41 with seven boundaries to her name. Although Muneeba departed for 23 off 24 balls, Dar promoted herself to number three to take control of the chase.

Dar and Zulfiqar had a great partnership and added 51 more runs to the score even as the young opener fell at the end of the 13th over. When Pakistan lost Dar for 23 off 13, they required only 35 runs off 39 balls to register a historic win.

Post the departure of Dar, Riaz stepped in to guide the chase and finished the innings in style with a six to help Pakistan go 1-0 in the series.

Unsurprisingly, Sana won the player of the match for her commendable bowling efforts with figures of 3 for 18 from her four overs.

The teams will take on each other again at the University Oval in the second T20I on Tuesday (December 5). The oval will be renamed as Suzie Bates Oval in honour of their famous ex-student and Otago Sparks player Suzie Bates. Bates has already represented New Zealand in more than 300 internationals and it will be a great homecoming for the opener.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 127/6 in 20 overs (Maddy Green 43, Suzie Bates 28; Fatima Sana 3/18) lost to Pakistan 132/3 in 18.2 overs (Shawaal Zulfiqar 41, Aliya Riaz 25*; Sophie Devine 2/23 ) by 7 wickets. POTM: Fatima Sana