New Zealand are going to seal a clean sweep vis-a-vis Pakistan which continued facing struggle with batting
- Pakistan make three changes for today’s match.
- Green Shirts pull together 134-run target for New Zealand.
- Rizwan, Fakhar and Babar Azam hit 38, 33 and 13, respectively.
CHRISTCHURCH: Pakistan faced an arduous challenge with the bat, as they could post a modest total of 134-8 against a disciplined New Zealand bowling attack in the final encounter of the five-match T20 series.
As the hosts look to chase a 135-run target, the series hangs in the balance, with New Zealand eyeing a clean sweep.
Opting to bat after winning the toss, Pakistan encountered struggles early on. The Black Caps’ bowlers, led by Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, and spinner Ish Sodhi, exploited the challenging conditions, leading to regular wickets and disrupting Pakistan’s momentum.
Tim Southee, T20 cricket’s leading wicket-taker, set the tone for New Zealand with a maiden over that dismissed debutant Haseebullah Khan. Returning in the 13th over, Southee further inflicted damage by removing the aggressive Fakhar Zaman, who had raced to 33 off 16 balls.
Despite a valiant effort from top-scorer Mohammad Rizwan, who contributed 38 off 38 balls, his departure at a critical juncture left Pakistan facing an uphill task. Star batter Babar Azam struggled, managing only 13 off 24 balls and surviving two dropped catches.
Seamers Tim Southee, Matt Henry, and Lockie Ferguson, alongside spinner Ish Sodhi, claimed two wickets each, putting New Zealand in a commanding position to secure a 5-0 series whitewash.
In terms of team changes, Pakistan introduced Haseebullah Khan, legspinner Usama Mir, and seamer Abbas Afridi. New Zealand, already with the series in their grasp, made two changes, recalling allrounder Rachin Ravindra and legspinner Ish Sodhi.
With New Zealand requiring 135 runs for victory, the outcome of the series rests on their batting performance. Pakistan, eager to avoid a whitewash, will look to their bowlers to defend the target, while the Black Caps aim to maintain their dominant form and secure a comprehensive series triumph.