Late cameo from Asif Ali fires Pakistan past New Zealand at T20 World Cup

Asif Ali scored 27 runs off just 12 balls to power Pakistan to a five-wicket victory against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup and put them on course for the last four.

New Zealand looked in a strong position after setting Pakistan a target of 135 and restricting their scoring for much of the reply, but Asif changed the dynamic with three big sixes as Pakistan secured their second successive win with eight balls remaining.

His heroics were needed as, although Mohammad Rizwan made 33, the rest of Pakistan’s batters had struggled to find a rhythm as Babar Azam went for nine and Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez and Imad Wasim made 11 each.

They were on 87 for five with a little over five overs remaining when Asif joined Shoaib Malik in the middle, but the momentum quickly shifted and after Asif hit back-to-back sixes in the 16th over there only looked like being one winner.

Daryl Mitchell and Devon Conway made 27 each and Kane Williamson added 25 as New Zealand made 134 for eight in their 20 overs. They were aggressive in the early overs but after Conway went at the start of the 17th over to leave them on 116 for five, the loss of late wickets stopped them setting a more imposing target.

Though Asif took the headlines, the pace bowler Haris Rauf took the honours for player of the match after claiming four for 22 to disrupt New Zealand.