In a thrilling showdown in Christchurch on Friday, Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips showcased their batting prowess, propelling New Zealand to a seven-wicket triumph over Pakistan in the fourth Twenty20 international. Their unbeaten half-centuries in a remarkable 139-run partnership guided the home side to victory, securing a 3-0 lead in the series and placing them on the brink of a clean sweep.
Facing a target of 159, Mitchell and Phillips combined forces after Pakistan’s captain, Shaheen Shah Afridi, disrupted New Zealand’s top order, leaving them struggling at 3-20 in the third over. Undeterred, Mitchell and Phillips exhibited resilience, scoring 72 off 44 balls and 70 off 52 respectively. They accelerated in the closing stages, ensuring victory with 11 balls to spare and showcasing a remarkable recovery from their cautious start.
New Zealand’s ability to wrap up the series 5-0 now hinges on the final match at Hagley Oval on Sunday, where they aim to maintain their dominance over the visitors.
Pakistan, on the other hand, paid the price for their reliance on opener Mohammad Rizwan, who crafted an unbeaten 90 off 63 balls. Despite Rizwan’s stellar performance, the team struggled to support him, leading to a total of 158-5. Seamer Matt Henry (2-22) and Lockie Ferguson (2-27) spearheaded New Zealand’s disciplined attack, restricting the boundaries and denying Rizwan the chance to reach his second T20 international century.
The innings also featured an explosive cameo from all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz, who smashed three successive sixes off pace bowler Adam Milne in his final over to post 21 off nine balls.
Pakistan’s bowling attack, led by Afridi with figures of 3-34, briefly had New Zealand on the back foot. However, Mitchell and Phillips gradually regained momentum, sealing the victory for the home side. Pakistan missed a crucial opportunity when Sahibzada Farhan dropped a straightforward chance offered by Mitchell in the 14th over, potentially costing them their last chance at victory.
As the cricketing spectacle unfolds, New Zealand stands on the verge of a historic clean sweep, while Pakistan seeks redemption in the series finale at Hagley Oval.
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