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Middle-order ensures Pakistan enter T20 World Cup with confidence

Middle-order ensures Pakistan enter T20 World Cup with confidence
October 14, 2022 Web Desk

CHRISTCHURCH (92 News) - Pakistan notched up their 21st T20I victory in 31 matches since the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup India 2021 when they defeated New Zealand by five wickets to win the T20I tri-series at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Friday.

A blistering 22-ball 38 not out by No.4 batter Mohammad Nawaz, a quick-fire 15-ball 31 by No.5 Haider Ali and a rapid 14-ball 25 not out by No.7 batter Iftikhar Ahmed ensured Pakistan headed to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2022 oozing with confidence after they achieved the 164-run target with three balls to spare.

Nawaz, who scored a 20-ball 45 in the previous match against Bangladesh, clobbered two fours and three sixes, while Haider ended his run drought with an innings that included three fours and two sixes. Iftikhar joined the party when 32 runs were required from 23 balls by slapping a four and a match-winning six.

The middle-order finally fired after Mohammad Rizwan (34), Babar Azam (15) and Shan Masood (19) had departed at the score of 74 for three to leave Pakistan requiring 90 runs from 51 balls. With Shadab Khan and Mohammad Wasim Jnr not required to bat on Friday, Pakistan demonstrated they have the ability and firepower in the middle-order that can take them a long way in the T20 World Cup in which Pakistan will play its Group 2 matches from 23 October to 6 November.

Nawaz and Haider turned the match on its head in the 15th over after Pakistan required 67 runs from the last six overs. Haider collected 13 runs from the first four deliveries from Ish Sodhi, before Nawaz belted successive sixes as the over yielded 25 runs. Haider departed in the following over, but after striking fours off Tim Southee to reduce Pakistan’s target to 34 runs from 25 balls.

Earlier, Kane Williamson scored at a strike-rate of 155 to top score for New Zealand with a 38-ball 59 that included four fours and two sixes. Glenn Phillips (29), Mark Chapman (25) and James Neesham (17) were the other notable run-getters as the home side only managed 33 runs in the last five overs against quality bowling by Pakistan.

Shadab Khan conceded four runs in the 16th over, Haris Rauf gave away 10 runs in his last two overs (17th and 20th), Mohammad Wasim’s final over (18th of the innings) cost 11 runs, while Naseem Shah picked up two wickets and conceded eight runs.

Haris finished with impressive figures of two for 22 runs, while Naseem Shah ended with figures of two for 38. Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz gave away 63 runs in their eight overs.

Pakistan will now travel to Brisbane on Saturday where they will play two warm-up matches against England (17 October) and Afghanistan (19 October). They will take on India on 23 October in Melbourne in their tournament opener.

In Brisbane, they will reunite with Fakhar Zaman, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Matthew Hayden. Fakhar and Shaheen will travel after completing their rehabilitation in London, while Hayden will join as the team mentor for the T20 World Cup.


Scores in brief:

Pakistan beat New Zealand by five wickets

New Zealand 163-7, 20 overs (Kane Williamson 59, Glenn Phillips 29, Mark Chapman 25; Haris Rauf 2-22, Naseem Shah 2- 38)

Pakistan 168-5, 19.3 overs (Mohammad Nawaz 38 not out, Mohammad Rizwan 34, Haider Ali 31, Iftikhar Ahmed 25 not out, Shan Masood 19, Babar Azam 15; Michael Bracewell 2-14)

Player of the match – Mohammad Nawaz (Pakistan)