Pakistan outshine Bangladesh in opening match of NZ T20 series
Rizwan the savior as Babar XI defeated Bangladesh by 21 runs in Christchurch
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Mohammad Rizwan underlined why he will be a key weapon for Pakistan at the Twenty20 World Cup, top-scoring in a 21-run win over Bangladesh in Christchurch on Friday.
Rizwan maintained his rich vein of form with an unbeaten 78 as Pakistan posted 167-5, before restricting their opponents to 146-8.
It was the opening match of a week-long tournament, which also includes hosts New Zealand. All three teams are using it to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia.
The world's top-ranked T20 batsman, Rizwan batted through the innings in cold conditions at Hagley Oval, tallying seven fours and two sixes in a chanceless 50-ball knock.
It was the 30-year-old's 21st half-century in the format, continuing his form from last month's T20 series against England, when he compiled a series-leading 316 runs.
His average in the format of 54.34 stands alone among the top 150 run-scorers. The next best is India's Virat Kohli (50.84).
Rizwan's best support on a tricky, two-paced wicket came from Shan Masood (31 off 22 balls), following an opening stand of 52 with captain Babar Azam (22 off 25) while Taskin Ahmed (2-25) was Bangladesh's best bowler.
Rizwan said being patient after being sent in laid the foundation for a winning score.
"Early on the ball was a little bit grippy but me and the skipper decided to keep things simple," he said.
"We did very well but I thought we were 10 to 15 runs short on this kind of pitch.
"After that, the bowlers bowled very well to the plan."
Bangladesh's chase tailed off after Liton Das (35) and Afif Hossain (25) put on a slick 50 for the third wicket from 34 balls.
Some late hitting from Yasir Ali (42 not out) restored respectability while speedster Mohammad Wasim (3-24) enjoyed late success with the yorker.
Players from both teams regularly slipped on a surface made hard by unexpected weather conditions earlier in the week.
A cold blast left ground staff sweeping snow from the covers and outfield on Thursday morning.
Temperatures hovered around a relatively warm 12 degrees Celsius (54F) throughout the match, the earliest ever staged in a New Zealand home season.
New Zealand will play Pakistan on Saturday and Bangladesh on Sunday, both at the same venue.
Brief scores in the tri-series Twenty20 international between Pakistan and Bangladesh in Christchurch on Friday:
Pakistan: 167-5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 78 not out, Shan Masood 31, Babar Azam 22; Taskin Ahmed 2-25)
Bangladesh: 146-8 in 20 overs (Yasir Ali 42 not out, Liton Das 35, Afif Hossain 25; Mohammad Wasim 3-24, Mohammad Nawaz 2-25)
Result: Pakistan win by 21 runs
Pakistan: Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Haider Ali, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Haris Rauf, Shahnawaz Dahani
Bangladesh: Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Nurul Hasan (capt), Litton Das, Yasir Ali, Hasan Mahmud, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Nasum Ahmed
Umpires: Shaun Haig (NZL), Wayne Knights (NZL)
TV Umpire: Alex Wharf (ENG)
Match Referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)
The teams entered the series with one eye on the World Cup that starts in less than a couple of weeks now.
Time to GO 👍🏻 pic.twitter.com/SCwVwLGLg9— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) October 7, 2022
The series should provide a good dress rehearsal, particularly for Pakistan and Bangladesh, who will look to quickly acclimatise to this part of the world.
The Hagley Oval in Christchurch is set to host all matches.
Great to have the @AMShowNZ’s @RedmanMitch at Hagley Oval this morning for a korero with head groundsman Ash Head on another chilly morning ahead of the T20 Tri-Series. #NZTriSeries pic.twitter.com/1P2QkUzLcF— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) October 6, 2022
A slightly new-look Bangladesh are coming off a couple of wins against UAE and Pakistan enter the series having narrowly lost to England at home.
Both teams will look to iron out their flaws and settle on the right combination before the World Cup.
Fond memories of visiting New Zealand from @TheRealPCB's Saqlain Mushtaq. Follow the Tri-Series LIVE in NZ with @sparknzsport and in Pakistan with @TenPakistan. #NZTriSeries pic.twitter.com/l87E7tRHqi— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) October 6, 2022