2nd T20: Pakistan beat New Zealand by 7 wickets

RAWALPINDI, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – Apr 21, 2024) Pakistan bowlers put in a stunning performance to dismantle the New Zealand batting and helped their side register a comfortable seven-wicket win in the second T20 International in the Pindi Cricket Stadium late on Saturday.

Chasing a below par 91 runs, Pakistan reached the target in just 12.1 overs, led by Mohammad Rizwan’s unbeaten 45 off 34 balls.

Pakistan suffered an early setback when Saim Ayub departed on the second ball of the first over after hitting the boundary on the first ball. But Rizwan and captain Babar Azam rallied to add 37 runs for the second wicket. After Babar’s departure for 14, Rizwan and Irfan Khan remained unbeaten, with their 36-run partnership sealing the win with 47 balls to spare.

Earlier, the Black Caps struggled to build momentum after being asked to bat first. Shaheen Shah Afridi sent opener Tim Seifert in first to set the tone for the innings. In total he took 3 wickets. That of Mohammad Amir, who played his first international T20 after four years, was at his best as he claimed two crucial wickets. The spin combination of Abrar Ahmed and Shadab Khan shared four wickets to restrict New Zealand to an under-par total of 90.

Naseem Shah took one wicket.

Mark Chapman was the top scorer for New Zealand, scoring just 19 runs as seven of their batters failed to reach double figures.

During the post-match press conference, Babar Azam praised his bowling unit

stating: “The first overs are crucial here in Pindi, and our bowlers were exceptional today. We are exploring different team compositions and strategies as we prepare for the upcoming series against Ireland and England.”

New Zealand’s Michael Bracewell admitted his side’s problems, saying: “We were too slow to adapt to the field and it cost us. We have to learn quickly from today’s mistakes because tomorrow we have another match.”

Player of the match Shaheen Afridi said: “Returning to bowling after a 36-day gap is a challenge as it is difficult to find rhythm straight away. However, I maintained my confidence and adapted my technique to the circumstances. In T20 cricket, the swing fades quickly, so I focused on what the pitch and the game required. In terms of team dynamics, the influx of new talent is significantly improving cricket in Pakistan, creating a positive stage as we approach the World Cup.”

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