A brilliant unbeaten innings from New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham helped his team have a great recovery and post a modest total against Pakistan in their World Cup group stage match on Wednesday. Thanks to Nesham’s 97 off 112 balls, the Black Caps were able to post a challenging 237 for six on the board after Pakistan bowlers had run riot early on at Birmingham.
The Pakistan opening bowlers asserted their dominance with some fine seam bowling early on. The Kiwis lost four wickets inside 13 overs before captain Kane Williamson stood guard. Williamson hit 41 before he fell to Shadab Khan with the score on 83 for 5. From that point onwards, it was Neesham's day. He put together a 132-run partnership with Colin Grandhomme for the sixth wicket. Grandhomme fell after scoring 64 at the death end of the innings following a run out. Some big hits from Neesham, with the last ball also going for six of Wahab Riaz saw New Zealand reach 237. Earlier Shaheen Shah bagged three wickets for Pakistan.
Pakistan new ball bowlers made early inroads into the New Zealand batting line-up as Kiwis slumped to four down inside 15 overs at a pitch providing some seam movement.Mohammad Hafeez opened the bowling from one end with Mohammad Amir bowling the second over. Amir bagged Martin Guptill in the first ball of his first over as the batsman dragged one back on to his stumps.
It was the Shaheen Shah Afridi show after that as he removed Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham in a fiery spell of pace bowling. Kiwi captain Kane Williamson is still battling it out patiently with James Neesham at the other end. Shaheen has eye-catching figures of three wickets for nine runs in six overs.