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Pakistan Dodges Whitewash with Victory in Final T20I Against New Zealand

In a thrilling display of cricket, Pakistan emerged victorious against New Zealand in the final match of the T20I series, held in Christchurch on Sunday. The Pakistani team successfully defended a score of 134, defeating New Zealand by 42 runs and preventing a series whitewash.

Despite New Zealand’s strong performance in the first four matches, which led to a series lead of 4-1, Pakistan’s tenacity shone through in the final game. The Kiwis, chasing a target of 135, were bowled out for a mere 92 runs in 17.2 overs. After a promising start with a score of 53-2, New Zealand experienced a significant collapse, leading to their dismissal within 20 overs.

Pakistan’s bowling attack was spearheaded by off-spinner Iftikhar Ahmed, who delivered an impressive performance with figures of 3-24 in four overs. Captain Shaheen Afridi and all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz also contributed significantly, each claiming two wickets. Glenn Phillips was the highest run-scorer for New Zealand, contributing 26 runs in 22 balls.

Pakistan’s batting innings began on a shaky note, with the team managing to reach 134-8 after winning the toss. Despite a disciplined bowling display from New Zealand, with seamers Tim Southee, Matt Henry, and Lockie Ferguson, along with spinner Ish Sodhi, each taking two wickets, Pakistan held their ground.

Southee, a leading wicket-taker in T20 cricket, set the tone for the match by dismissing debutant Haseebullah Khan in a maiden over. He returned in the 13th over to claim the wicket of Fakhar Zaman, who had quickly scored 33 off 16 balls. Mohammad Rizwan, the top-scorer for Pakistan, was dismissed soon after for 38 off 38, resulting in Pakistan recording the series’ lowest first-innings score.

Despite these challenges, Pakistan demonstrated resilience and strategic changes to their team line-up, which included the introduction of twenty-year-old Khan as the opening batsman, replacing Saim Ayub. Legspinner Usama Mir and seamer Abbas Afridi were also recalled, having both played in the first two games.

New Zealand made two changes to their team, recalling all-rounder Rachin Ravindra, who had a successful run in last year’s 50-over World Cup in India. Ravindra replaced Daryl Mitchell, while legspinner Sodhi took the place of pace bowler Adam Milne.

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