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New Zealand stun Pakistan by four runs to take unassailable 2-1 lead

By News Desk

April 25, 2024 07:25 PM


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New Zealand's second-string team yet again brought Pakistan's high flyers down the earth with another emphatic victory in the fourth T20I to take an unassailable 2-1 lead against Pakistan in the five-match series at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium.

Kiwis successfully defended their 178-7 runs by restricting Pakistan to 174-8 to register a four-run victory.

The visitors' bowler William O’Rourke played a key role with the ball as he took key wickets of Pakistani openers Babar Azam and Saim Ayub and later took the wicket of Iftikhar Ahmad to finish with figures of 3-27 in his four overs.

Pakistan's chase got off to a shaky start with captain Babar Azam departing early, scoring just 5 runs. Despite efforts from young batters Saim Ayub (20) and Usman Khan (16), the hosts found themselves struggling to keep up with the required run rate.

Fakhar Zaman's resilient knock of 61 off 45 balls provided hope for Pakistan, but crucial wickets at key moments dented their pursuit. Despite late resistance from all-rounder Imad Wasim (22*), Pakistan fell agonizingly short of the target, finishing at 174/8.

After being put into bat first, the visitors had a blazing start from openers Tim Robinson and Tom Blundell. The duo made 56 runs for the first wicket before Zaman Khan had the better of Blundell, who made 28 runs off 15 balls powered by five fours.

Robinson kept the charge from the other end with Dean Foxcroft joining him in the middle. The 21-year-old reached to his first T20I fifty before being dismissed on 51 by Abbas Afridi with the help of Iftikhar Ahmed, who took a great catch on the boundary.

The home side dominated in the middle over by bowling quiet overs and managed wickets of last match heroes Mark Chapman and Foxcroft.

Shadab Khan took a splendid catch to dismiss Chapman (9) on the bowling of Iftikhar Ahmed while Foxcroft (34) was undone by Usama Mir.

New Zealand captain Michael Bracewell looked to increase the strike rate in the last overs but he couldn't get ahead of the plan of the Pakistan bowlers.

Bracewell, who made 27 off 20, was removed by Abbas while Josh Clarkson's stumps were rattled on the following delivery. The emerging pacer finished as Pakistan's best bowler, claiming 3/20.

The visitors finished on 178/7 with Mohammad Amir removing Ish Sodhi on the final ball of the innings.

Babar Azam, Pakistan Captain, said: " I think we restricted them in bowling really well. We were expecting 190-200 but bowlers stuck to their plans, it was chaseable, but we had a batting collapse. We lost three, four wickets in powerplay but Fakhar's innings was outstanding. We wanted to chase it with positive intent but we were unable to do so. When you lose back-to-back wickets, you need a few overs to catch up but that we got derailed in that period. It was a different surface; we were coming back after a long time, average score is 190 so I think we restricted them well. There were some changes due to injuries but youngsters put in a great effort. Our plan was to give proper opportunity to (test our) bench strength and see where we stand and we wanted to play different combinations. Hopefully, we will have the team ready come the time of the World Cup."

Michael Bracewell, New Zealand Captain, added: "The way we have learned from game to game is hugely important. Fortunately, we are able to come on the right side today. Pakistan bowlers bowled particularly well at the death. The openers got us ahead of the game. We weren't' able to get to 200 but I think credit to Pakistan bowlers. It's a huge positive for us that we are able to expose new guys, we backed Neesham to bowl those hard overs and he was able to close out today. I think our last five overs as a bowling unit were particularly impressive."

William O'Rourke was named Player of the Match. He said: "We are learning together at the moment, trying to get better at every match and it's working well. I think the crowd were very loud out there, it was a very cool experience.

Imad Wasim makes return to int’l cricket as Pakistan elect to bowl first

Pakistan Thursday won the toss and put New Zealand into bat during the fourth match of the five-match T20I series at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore.

The series is tied at 1-1 with the first match being rained off. Pakistan won the second T20 in Rawalpindi while New Zealand shocked the hosts in the third match.

The match will also see the return of all-rounder Imad Wasim to international cricket after he took back his retirement. Usman Khan will take the gloves duty behind the wickets as wicket-keeper batsman Muhammad Rizwan has been ruled out for the remainder of the series with a hamstring injury.

Pakistan also recalled Fakhar Zaman, Usama Mir and Zaman Khan to the playing XI for the first time in the series while Muhammad Amir, who was rested for the third match also returned to the fold.

Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah and Abrar Ahmed were rested as per the new rotation policy adopted by the team management.

New Zealand also made three changes as a fit Josh Clarkson again came back into the team and Tom Blundell came in as Tim Seifert's replacement who missed out due to a sore back.

Kiwis captain Michael Bracewell said they would have also bowled first as well.

“I think 180 would be a good score on this wicket. Obviously, we'll have to adapt quickly to the pitch and outfield. Three changes for New Zealand. Tim Seifert misses out due to a sore back. Tom Blundell comes in as his replacement.”

Squads:

Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Usama Mir, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Zaman Khan

New Zealand: TA Blundell (wk), TB Robinson, D Foxcroft, MS Chapman, JDS Neesham, Michael Bracewell (c), JA Clarkson, Ish Sodhi, JA Duffy, BV Sears, W O'Rourke


News Desk


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