Baby bonus spurs Boult to hat-trick
Trent Boult didn’t know if wife Gert was watching on TV with their newborn son, but the Black Caps spearhead was happy to credit them for his stunning international cricket return.
Barely a month after becoming a father for the first time, the world’s fourth-ranked one-day international bowler delivered a hat-trick and man of the match performance in New Zealand’s 47-run win over Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
‘‘The lucky charm. He must have been watching in the early hours of the morning back home. I haven’t caught up with them [family] yet but I’m sure they’re pretty happy,’’ Boult said.
After Danny Morrison against India in 1994 and Shane Bond against Australia in 2007, Boult was the third Black Cap to snare an ODI hat-trick.
With his eighth, ninth and 10th deliveries Boult removed a strong trio of Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez to cripple Pakistan’s innings at 8-3.
‘‘My role is to run in and pitch the ball up and swing it around and try to take wickets.’’
They were eventually dismissed for 219 as New Zealand went 1-0 up in the three-match series with their 12th successive ODI victory over Pakistan.
‘‘My role is to run in and pitch the ball up and swing it around and try to take wickets. We’re always aiming to get a couple at the top in that first power play,’’ Boult said.
‘‘When the hat-trick ball came around I was trying to make him [Hafeez] play and get the ball on the wickets. It was nice for it to swing back a little bit and trap him in front, a pretty cool feeling.’’
The Hafeez wicket was his favourite, a lethal inswinger trapping the veteran in front in an ideal hat-trick ball.
Fakhar’s was a good one, too, as he played all around one and was bowled, before Ross Taylor juggled then held a sharp grab off Babar at a wide first slip.
Boult ended with 3-54 after his devastating first spell and the pace trio did the job, with Tim Southee (1-31) accurate and a hostile Lockie Ferguson (3-36) adding another dimension with a welldirected short barrage.
Having lost the Twenty20 series 3-0, the New Zealanders welcomed back their No 1 striker from paternity leave after one first-class match and two onedayers for Northern Districts.
‘‘I’ve had a pretty quiet winter, probably four months off, away from cricket. The summer pretty much starts here for me. I’ve been in the gym doing the things I need to do to make sure my body’s right. The rhythm felt good tonight.’’
With a full series against Pakistan, then a packed home summer before the Indian Premier League and buildup to the World Cup in the UK in June, it’s an intense run from now on.
Boult’s performance was a reminder – if we needed one – of his immense value to the Black Caps and, alongside captain Kane Williamson, the man they could least afford to lose at the World Cup.
After the T20 series went to form so did the ODIs, with New Zealand back in their favoured format and continuing their stranglehold over Pakistan in 50-over cricket.
Taylor (80) and Tom Latham (68) carried on from last summer anchoring the innings of 266-9 with late cameos from Southee and Ish Sodhi averting a mini collapse against legspinner Shadab Khan (4-38).
Now they can close it out back at Sheikh Zayed Stadium early tomorrow and clinch a third successive ODI series over Pakistan in the UAE after 2009 (2-1) and 2014 (3-2).
‘‘They’re a quality side and the big challenge is to come over here and beat them in conditions like this,’’ Boult said.
Trent Boult, right, completes his hattrick against Pakistan and Tim Southee, left, and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson rush to join the celebrations.