A career-best 89 was shattered by Mohammad Rizwan as Pakistan beat New Zealand on Tuesday by four wickets to escape a series sweep after the third Twenty20 international in Napier.
With two balls to spare, Pakistan hit New Zealand’s target, finishing on 177 after Iftikhar Ahmed sealed the victory with a six in the final over.
But it was Rizwan’s 89 out of 59 balls, with Mohammad Hafeez’s help, who scored a fast 41 out of 29 deliveries, that provided the winning inspiration.
After losing the toss and being asked to bat, the New Zealanders ended their innings at 173 for seven, with Devon Conway top-scoring on 63.
Faheem Ashraf was the Pakistan bowlers’ choice, taking three for twenty.
“Compared to where we were at one point, it is a decent total,” Conway said earlier.
“We were talking about the 160 mark as somewhere we’d like to get to and it’s a good total to reach 170-plus.”
We spoke around the 160 mark as something we would like to get to, and it’s a decent total to hit 170-plus.
Pakistan won the toss earlier and elected to bowl. First of all, we’re going to bowl because we’ve changed the squad, so we have batting depth, so we want to chase,” Captain Shadab Khan said.”
In the previous two matches of the series, Shadab had won the toss, with Pakistan suffering heavy defeats both times.
He said that most of his players were unfamiliar with the circumstances in New Zealand.
“For most of them, it’s their first New Zealand tour and they have been affected by the bounce,” he said. “They will hopefully learn from that and do better.”
Along with young fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain, Pakistan brought in Hussain Talat and Iftikhar Ahmed to bolster the batting.
With Haider Ali promoted to open the batting in Shafique’s absence, Abdullah Shafique, Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz were all dropped.
Captain Kane Williamson of New Zealand said his squad was unchanged from the side that on Sunday clinched a nine-wicket victory in Hamilton.
“We’ve had a few strong performances, and it’s important that we continue to look back on that,” he said. “It’s a good surface, so we can hopefully use it first and get a competitive total.”
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert, Kane Williamson (capt), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Kyle Jamieson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan, Haider Ali, Shadab Khan (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain.