Vettori stunned by Gul heroics
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori admitted his side had been taken by surprise by the exploits of Pakistan paceman Umar Gul at The Oval today.
Gul became became the first bowler to claim five wickets in a Twenty20 international with a stunning mid-innings spell as the Black Caps were skittled for just 99 in their ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights clash.
Having been thrown the ball with New Zealand wobbling on 72 for four, Gul removed Scott Styris and Peter McGlashan in his first over.
He then accounted for Nathan McCullum, James Franklin and Kyle Mills on his way to remarkable figures of 5-6.
“I’ve never seen someone reverse-swing the ball after 12 overs and he managed to do that, which made all the difference,” said Vettori.
“I don’t think anyone has done that in the history of Twenty20 cricket. He was a difficult proposition.”
Abdul Razzaq claimed two wickets at the top of the order on his return to the side, while Mohammad Aamer and Shahid Afridi also chipped in.
Vettori added: “It was a good wicket with plenty of runs in it but we couldn’t put a score on the board. We were under constant pressure from Pakistan and could not get any momentum going.
“Twenty20 is about taking risks and sometimes you meet a team who are bowling well and it doesn’t come off. We knew we needed about 180 to compete and it wasn’t our day.”
Shahzaib Hasan hit 35 as Pakistan duly knocked off the runs to secure victory by six wickets and, with Ireland left to play in the Super Eights, put themselves in with an excellent chance of securing a semi-final berth.
Their performance, in a match they had to win to stay in the tournament, was a vast improvement from the defeats by England and Sri Lanka.
Captain Younus Khan said: “We knew it was a do-or-die situation. The message was to play your natural game - we are aggressive players.
“Umar bowls fast and is very effective in the middle overs. He has pace and reverse swing. It’s not the first time he has put in performances like this; he was our leading wicket-taker in the last Twenty20 World Cup.
“He bowls in the middle when the ball has taken a lot of hits and in this kind of situation he is effective for us.”
Pakistan will take on minnows Ireland on Monday while New Zealand face Sri Lanka a day later.