UAE 144 for 3 (Waseem 55, Asif 48*, Santner 1-26) beat New Zealand 142 for 8 (Chapman 63, Aayan 3-20, Jawadullah 2-16) by seven wickets
A first T20I win in Dubai in their eighth attempt. A first win in any format over New Zealand in their third attempt. It was a day of historic firsts for UAE as they put on a stellar show to ease past New Zealand in the second T20I by seven wickets and level the three-match series 1-1.
For New Zealand, it was their first loss in 39 matches against non-Test-playing nations across formats.
Aayan’s best leaves New Zealand in trouble
The second T20I was being played on the same surface as the first, which meant spinners were expected to make their presence felt. And sure enough, Waseem got Aayan into the game in the second over itself. He was pumped for a six by Seifert but returned strongly to claim back-to-back wickets. He first cleaned up Mitchell Santner, whose promotion to No. 3 didn’t quite go as per the plan. The very next ball, he sent back Dane Cleaver with a straighter one that kept low.
Aayan then brought his guile into play to account for Chad Bowes for a run-a-ball 21. With Bowes shaping up for a reverse sweep early, the spinner slowed it down and bowled outside off. The batter failed to connect, lost his balance and was stumped. That left New Zealand stumbling at 38 for 4 in the seventh over.
Chapman brings out his subcontinent experience
Chapman began his career playing for Hong Kong and has been brought up on a diet of white-ball cricket, playing spinners in subcontinent conditions. On a surface where the rest of the New Zealand batters struggled to get going, Chapman immediately found himself at home. He played a lot of his shots off the front foot than back, reaching to the pitch of the ball and accounting for the turn, something which the others failed to do.
He was watchful at the start, dealing in singles before targeting newbie Mohammed Faraazuddin, smacking him for two fours and a six across two overs. With momentum on his side, Chapman opened his shoulders a bit more. He pumped Zahoor Khan for back-to-back sixes to bring up his sixth T20I fifty before eventually falling in the final over.
Waseem props up UAE’s chase amid reprieves
New Zealand started their defence of 142 in a stunning fashion with James Neesham pulling off a screamer flinging himself to his right at first slip to remove Aryansh Sharma for a third-ball duck. The wicket also took Tim Southee level with Shakib Al Hasan for the most wickets in T20Is. However, Waseem, who fell for a first-ball duck in the opening T20I, ensured his team was ahead of the asking rate at most times.
He got a reprieve on 5 and then again on 41, and made New Zealand pay. He first added 40 off 32 balls with Vriitya Aravind and then 56 off 31 with Asif. It was never blind slogging by Waseem. He targeted specific bowlers and struck four fours and three sixes during his innings. By the time he fell, UAE needed just 47 from nine overs.
Asif, Hameed shut out the noise
The difference between the first and second T20I was the composure with which the UAE batters went about their job. There were no panic stations when Waseem fell. Hameed came in and made sure to rotate the strike at every chance, while Asif also curbed his aggressive style of play to take UAE closer. Only when the required runs were in the 20s did Asif go about his shot-making.
He first clubbed Neesham for two fours in the 15th over before hacking Southee over long-on for a six. Fittingly, it was Asif who finished the game with two successive fours, leading to celebrations in the UAE camp.
Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo