Opener Tim Seifert carried his bat for 84 in an unbroken 129-run partnership with Kane Williamson to steer New Zealand to a nine-wicket win over Pakistan in the second Twenty20 international Sunday and an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Williamson finished 57 not out in his return to the short format as New Zealand overtook Pakistan’s total of 163-6 with four balls to spare.
Seifert took his runs from only 63 balls with eight fours and three sixes, unleashing a wide variety of shots on a flat wicket against a Pakistan attack that struggled to find consistently challenging lengths.
Williamson was scratchy at first, then became unstoppable, reaching his 12th T20 international half century from 37 balls on the same ground where he scored a test-best 251 in his last innings.
“It was a good surface, good for the bowlers but obviously if you could build partnerships you could get there,” Williamson said.
Earlier, veteran Mohammad Hafeez was left unbeaten on 99, his highest score in 98 T20 internationals, as Pakistan again fell short of a challenging total.
Hafeez came to the last over 82 not out, hit three singles, a six and a four and was 93 not out with only one ball left in the innings. He did the best he could, hitting the final delivery for six to finish just short of a maiden century.
New Zealand was reinforced Sunday by the return of four members of its test squad, including Williamson, who missed the first match of the series. Williamson also missed the second test against the West Indies due to the birth of his first child.
Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson also returned, giving New Zealand an all-new pace attack. Southee made his presence felt, taking 4-21 from his four overs to weaken the Pakistan innings.
Boult took 0-33 and Jamieson 0-43 but New Zealand generally bowled well after losing the toss.
Pakistan also won the toss and batted in the first match of the series at Eden Park. It was caught out when its top-order batsmen went too hard early, without waiting to get the pace of a pitch on which the ball sometimes stopped but also bounced sharply.
The top order failed and Pakistan was 5-39 before recovering to 153-9.
Confident his batsmen had learned that lesson, captain Shadab Khan batted again on winning the toss. Again the Pakistan top order batsmen were probably too eager and, in the face of Southee’s first spell in which he took 3-16 from three overs, slumped to 4-56. Mohammad Rizwan struck two fours from the first over from Boult and Haider hit the second ball of Southee’s first over for six, suggesting early aggression was a sound policy.