In a bid to avoid a clean sweep in the five-match Twenty20 series, Pakistan’s spinners showcased their prowess, securing a consolatory 42-run victory over New Zealand on Sunday. Although the series ended 4-1 in favor of the hosts, Pakistan found solace in a stellar bowling performance that dismissed the Black Caps for a mere 92 runs while defending a total of 134-8.
Pakistan Vs New Zealand 5th T20 Highlights
Part-time offspinner Iftikhar Ahmed emerged as the hero, delivering a career-best performance with figures of 3-24. New Zealand’s weakened batting lineup struggled against the turning ball, resulting in their eighth-lowest T20 total. Openers Finn Allen (22) and Glenn Phillips (26) were the only contributors as Pakistan’s bowlers, led by Iftikhar Ahmed, claimed the last eight wickets for just 39 runs.
Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz (2-18) made early inroads, removing Rachin Ravindra and Will Young, while Shaheen Shah Afridi, concluding his maiden series as captain, added to the joy with figures of 2-20. New Zealand, missing key players Kane Williamson (knee injury), Devon Conway (Covid-19), and Daryl Mitchell (rested), faced an uphill battle against Pakistan’s formidable spin attack.
Earlier in the match, New Zealand seemed poised for a clean sweep as their disciplined bowling display restricted Pakistan’s batters. Seamers Tim Southee, Matt Henry, and Lockie Ferguson, along with spinner Ish Sodhi, claimed two wickets each. Southee, the leading wicket-taker in T20 cricket, set the tone by dismissing debutant Haseebullah Khan in the opening over and later removing the explosive Fakhar Zaman (33 off 16 balls) in the 13th over.
Despite a promising start, Pakistan faced setbacks as top-scorer Mohammad Rizwan departed for 38 off 38 balls, ultimately leading to the team posting its lowest first-innings score in the series. Nevertheless, Pakistan’s resilient bowling effort in the final T20 provided a silver lining, offering a positive conclusion to a challenging series.
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