New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was magnanimous in defeat after his side pushed Pakistan all the way before succumbing to a five-wicket loss in a Super 12s thriller. Haris Rauf took four for 22 and Asif Ali smashed 27 off 12 balls to see Pakistan to a second victory at the ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup 2021. Williamson admitted that Ali, who hit three sixes, the same as New Zealand made in their 20 overs, timed the ball better than anyone.
"It was a tough surface to time the ball on and someone like Shoaib Malik batting through and finishing off with a couple of blows. And Asif Ali who came in and hit the ball beautifully, much sweeter than anybody else on a tricky surface," said Williamson in an official release issued by ICC. "Unfortunately, it didn't quite go our way and I suppose if we look at the opposition and how clinical they were at the death and not allowing us to time the ball, they were the highest class and for us, it's trying to take some of those learnings and move forward," he added.
New Zealand will face India next, whom Pakistan beat by ten wickets on Sunday, and they will be without Lockie Ferguson who pulled out of the tournament with a calf tear prior to a ball being bowled in the Pakistan game. Williamson was also full of praise for Pakistan's bowlers, with Rauf the pick of the bunch taking four wickets from his four overs.
"The guys went out and competed really well and made a lot of good decisions along the way and when you play those low scoring matches on tough surfaces, like we did tonight, the game has very small margins, and unfortunately, when it counted, a couple of misses means a lot," said Williamson. "There's a lot to learn from those experiences but at the end of the day, Pakistan were outstanding and they finished the game beautifully on a very tough surface. Their bowlers were outstanding today as they were the other night in their first match, which we expected to be the case. They continued to deliver and they were outstanding in their performance for Pakistan," he added.
Despite falling to a five-wicket defeat, Williamson believes there is plenty his side can take from the loss. "I think we would have liked about another five or 10 runs although we thought we had what would have been a very good total in the first half. But in hindsight, you want a few more. There were a lot of really important roles that allowed us to get that competitive total so I think there was a lot of good to take from it," said the Kiwi skipper.