Saturday, March 2, 2024

Pakistan win final T20I against New Zealand to escape whitewash

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Pakistan’s spinners ran through New Zealand to pick up a consolation 42-run win in the fifth and final Twenty20 international on Sunday and avoid a series clean sweep.

The tourists lost the five-match series 4-1 but it ended on a positive note as they dismissed the Black Caps for a paltry 92 in defence of 134-8.

Part-time offspinner Iftikhar Ahmed produced career-best figures of 3-24 as a weakened New Zealand batting lineup struggled against the turning ball and were skittled for their eighth-lowest T20 total.

Only opener Finn Allen (22) and Glenn Phillips (26) passed 20 as Pakistan claimed the last eight wickets for 39 runs in comfortably their best bowling display of the series.

Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz (2-18) was effective with the new ball, removing Rachin Ravindra and Will Young cheaply, while Shaheen Shah Afridi had something to cheer at the end of his maiden series as captain, taking 2-20.

New Zealand were missing three of their first-choice batters: Kane Williamson (knee injury), Devon Conway (Covid-19) and Daryl Mitchell (rested).

Earlier, it appeared the home side had done enough to push for a clean sweep when they restricted Pakistan’s batters with another disciplined bowling display.

Seamers Tim Southee, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson all claimed two scalps, along with spinner Ish Sodhi.

Southee (2-19), the highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket, dismissed debutant Haseebullah Khan in the opening over and returned in the 13th over to remove the dangerous Fakhar Zaman, who had raced to 33 off 16 balls.

Top-scorer Mohammad Rizwan departed soon afterwards for 38 off 38, ultimately consigning Pakistan to the lowest first-innings score by either team in the series.


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