2nd T20: Pakistan defeat New Zealand by 7 wickets

New Zealand

RAWALPINDI, Apr 21 (APP): Pakistan bowlers produced a stunning performance to dismantle New Zealand batting, helping their side to register a comfortable seven-wicket win in the second T20 International at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on late Saturday.

Set to chase a below-par 91 runs, Pakistan achieved the target in just 12.1 overs, led by Mohammad Rizwan’s unbeaten 45 off 34 balls.

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

Earlier,  the Black Caps struggled to build momentum after being asked to bat first. Shaheen Shah Afridi dispatched opener Tim Seifert in first over to set the tone for the innings. In total, he took 3 wickets.

Mohammad Amir’s, who was playing 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 limit New Zealand to a below-par total of 90.
Naseem Shah grabbed one wicket.

Mark Chapman was the top scorer for New Zealand, managing just 19 runs as seven of their batters failed to reach double figures.
In post-match press conference Babar Azam lauded his bowling unit
stating: “The initial overs are crucial here in Pindi, and our bowlers were exceptional today. We’re exploring various team compositions and strategies as we prepare for upcoming series against Ireland and England.”

New Zealand’s Michael Bracewell admitted to his side’s struggles, saying, “We were too slow to adjust to the pitch and it cost us. We need to learn from today’s mistakes quickly as we have another game tomorrow.”

Player of the match Shaheen Afridi said: “Returning to bowling after a 36-day hiatus is challenging, as it’s tough to find rhythm immediately. However, I maintained my confidence and adapted my technique to the conditions.

In T20 cricket, the swing fades quickly, so I focused on what the pitch and game demanded. Regarding the team dynamics, the infusion of new talent is enhancing Pakistan cricket significantly, setting a positive stage as we approach the World Cup.”

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