Captain Mohammad Waseem smashed a chancy half-century and led United Arab Emirates to an emphatic win over a scratchy New Zealand to level their Twenty20 series on Saturday.
Waseem capitalized on two dropped catches and aced the run chase with a 29-ball 55 as UAE romped to 144-3 for a seven-wicket win with more than three overs to spare, and one of the best victories in a T20 against a test-playing nation.
New Zealand’s top order was strangled by the left-arm spin of Aaayan Afzal Khan, who took 3-20, before Mark Chapman’s fighting 63 off 46 balls lifted the Kiwis to 142-8.
Defending that total, the New Zealand bowlers got little support from their fielders as Kyle Jamiesen dropped a sitter off Waseem inside the batting powerplay after James Neesham plucked a stunner in the slips to dismiss Aryansh Sharma in the first over.
Waseem smashed three sixes and four boundaries and shared two valuable stands. He contributed 40 with Vriitya Aravind (25) for the second wicket and 56 with Asif Khan, who went unbeaten on 48.
Waseem holed out to Tim Southee in the 11th over but Khan ensured the UAE won when he sealed the result with two fours and a six against Southee in the 16th over.
New Zealand didn’t gain any momentum on another slow pitch at Dubai International Stadium as Aayan bowled brilliantly in the powerplay. New Zealand’s ploy to send Mitchell Santner at No. 3 backfired as Aayan chipped in with two wickets off successive deliveries when he clean bowled Santner and Dane Cleaver.
New Zealand was 38-4 in the seventh over when Aayan had Chad Bowes stumped.
Chapman and Neesham tried to rebuild the innings with a 53-run stand but the UAE didn’t allow the Kiwis to accelerate in the death overs. Chapman was one of only three batters to get into double figures.
Fast bowler Mohammad Jawadullah braved cramps in the latter half of the New Zealand innings to finish with 2-16.
The third and final game is on Sunday. New Zealand rested key T20 players for the UAE series, and moves on to England for a limited-overs series.