A poor fourth over from Ish Sodhi, which saw the leg spinner carted for three sixes by Mohammed Nawaz and Haider Ali, cost New Zealand dear as they lost the Tri-Series final to Pakistan in Christchurch earlier today.
The Black Caps appeared to be in control of the game when Pakistan needed 67 off the final 6, with Trent Boult having conceded only four runs in his previous over and Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam both back in the pavillion.
Sodhi had been expensive in his first three overs, conceding 33 in them, and somewhat bizarrely, Williamson chose to make him complete his quota of four instead of getting the extra over in from one of Neesham, Phillips or even Chapman. Sodhi went on to concede 2,4,6,1,6,6 in that fourth over, and Pakistan’s equation became 42 off 30 balls. That in turn became 34 off 28 when young Haider struck back to back boundaries off Tim Southee in the next over, and the game was done as a contest then, with the visitors coasting to victory.
On the evidence of this game, Sodhi might find it difficult to make the starting XI at the World Cup. Michael Bracewell outbowled him, taking twice as many wickets and conceding half the runs in this series. Even in this game, Bracewell’s four overs went for just 14 runs, and he picked up both Babar and Shan Masood. In comparison, Sodhi ended up going for 58 in his four- the most a NZ spinner has ever conceded in a T20 international game.
Bracewell has almost certainly cemented his position ion the XI, and NZ might now think of playing Santner alongside him in their WC opener against Australia next week.
Apart from Bracewell, the other major positive for New Zealand was the half century by Williamson. The skipper has struggled for runs in this series, but came good when it mattered the most, top scoring for NZ with a 39 ball 58. Unfortunately, his dismissal in the 16th over meant that New Zealand couldn’t quite take advantage of the final overs, with Haris Rauf again producing a fine exhibition of death bowling to stifle the Black Caps.