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NZ v PAK 2020: Mohammad Rizwan's 89 helps Pakistan cricket team avoid whitewash against New Zealand

Mohammad Rizwan starred for Pakistan in the third T20I
Mohammad Rizwan starred for Pakistan in the third T20I
Sachin Sharma
Modified 22 Dec 2020, 16:02 IST

Mohammad Rizwan scored a match-winning knock of 89 to lead Pakistan cricket team to their first win of their tour to New Zealand. Mohammad Hafeez also continued his fine run of form with the bat, while Faheem Ashraf took three wickets as Pakistan avoided a series whitewash against the Kiwis with a much-improved performance.

The tourists won the toss once again, this time electing to bowl first. After a good start by New Zealand, Pakistan cricket team struck back and dismissed Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Tim Seifert in quick succession. Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips then shared a fine partnership to put the Black Caps back on top, but Pakistan kept taking wickets at regular intervals and restricted them to 173/7.

Faheem Ashraf was Pakistan cricket team's star bowler, taking three crucial wickets for just 20 runs in his four overs. Ashraf's change-up deliveries made him a nightmare for the New Zealand batsmen to deal with. Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf also picked up two wickets each. While Devon Conway was New Zealand's top-scorer, getting 63 off just 45 balls before being dismissed by Rauf.

Pakistan cricket team win the third T20I, New Zealand win the series

Despite defeat in the third T20I, New Zealand won the series
Despite defeat in the third T20I, New Zealand won the series

Tasked with chasing 174, Pakistan cricket team made a brisk start with Mohammad Rizwan taking the initiative. He was nearly dismissed twice early on, but kept his composure and showed why the selectors have put so much faith in him in recent months.

Rizwan shared a 72-run stand with Mohammad Hafeez to put Pakistan in a commanding position before the latter's dismissal sparked a bit of a collapse. But while other batsmen failed to settle in, the Rizwan kept hitting the big shots to keep his team in the contest.

Pakistan cricket team needed 11 from the last 12 balls, but the Kiwis roared back with three wickets (included that of Rizwan) in just eight deliveries. With his team suddenly limping and New Zealand smelling blood, Iftikhar Ahmed stepped up and hit a massive six to seal the win and crush the crowd's hopes for a whitewash. New Zealand will find encouragement from the fact that they still won the series comfortably and came close to completing a clean sweep despite all the chopping and changing they did throughout the series.

The chase was Pakistan cricket team's fourth-highest in the shortest format of the game. And it will give them some much needed confidence and momentum going into the Test series.

Published 22 Dec 2020, 16:02 IST
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