BLACKCAPS 145-9 (Brendon McCullum 59*, Colin Munro 20) lost to Pakistan 149-4 in 19.5 overs (Kamran Akmal 52, Mohammed Hafeez 55, Nathan McCullum 2-21) by six wickets in Mirpur, Dhaka
The BLACKCAPS were beaten on the final ball by Pakistan in their first warm-up match at the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh today. Brendon McCullum's 59 not out was the backbone of the New Zealand innings of 145, but in reply Pakistan's openers Kamran Akmal and Sharjeel Khan were aggressive from the start, and despite some bowling pressure from the Kiwis they snuck home on the penultimate ball.
The BLACKCAPS will draw a lot from the performance but will also realise they have room for improvement in batting, bowling and fielding.
Kane Williamson went early for seven trying to force Mohammad Talha over mid on, only to be caught by Bilawal Bhatti. His opening partner Martin Guptill looked in good touch, launching a trademark big six down the ground early, but couldn't push on, making 11 before getting out lbw to Talha.
After Ross Taylor's nine run innings ended, Colin Munro launched a switch-hit six from the first ball he faced for a maximum, then repeated the trick in the 13th over with the same result.
Both teams took a little time to get used to the conditions, with some big swings from the BLACKCAPS not connecting, and Pakistan's attack taking some time to find their length. Brendon McCullum was brutal on anything full, putting one big six into the stand on the shorter side of the ground.
Munro was eventually caught on the boundary by Maqsood from Bhatti's bowling for 20. The middle and lower order supported Brendon McCullum as he raced to his 50, but no-one was able to help build a telling partnership, with the BLACKCAPS ending up 145-9 in their 20 overs.
The bowling attack was under the pump right away as Kamran Akmal and Sharjeel Khan went after everything early. Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan both conceded multiple boundaries in their first overs, and soon Brendon McCullum was rotating his attack in one-over bursts to disrupt the momentum.
The breakthrough came in the fifth over, when Khan skied Roneel Hira to mid wicket, where Tim Southee had no trouble with the catch. Mohammad Hafeez picked up where he left off however, and he and Akmal were able to free the arms and relieve any pressure regularly.
Hafeez went 6-6-4 from Hira in the 13th over to seemingly turn momentum his team's way - but when Akmal went retired hurt in the 15th over, and Hafeez went caught by Corey Anderson from Nathan McCullum in the 16th, suddenly the BLACKCAPS were able to exert pressure on the two new batsmen.
McCullum bowled Umar Akmal in the last over of his fine spell of 4-21-2, and Pakistan's runs per ball required ratio started creeping out. Seven was the target from the last over, and after singles from the first two balls and a dot, Sohaib Maqsood steered the ball to the boundary in successive balls to get Pakistan home to take the win by six wickets.
The final warm up match is against Australia in Fatullah on Wednesday, where the sides will play a Twenty20 match, a five over match, then a super over.