Pak­istan on Top of the World With New Zealand T20 Se­ries Win

The Miracle - - Sports / Heroes -

Mount Maun­ganui: Pak­istan laid claim to be­ing the best Twenty20 side in the world Sun­day after beat­ing New Zealand in the se­ries-de­cid­ing third Twenty20 match in Mount Maun­ganui. The 18-run vic­tory gave Pak­istan a come-from-be­hind 2-1 se­ries win that will see them over­take New Zealand at the top of the world rank­ings. Cap­tain Sar­fraz Ahmed leapt with de­light after the fi­nal ball as Pak­istan pulled off back-to-back wins over the hosts. Bat­ting first on a friendly wicket, Pak­istan reached 181 for six with Fakhar Za­man mak­ing 46 off 36 at the top of the in­nings. Umar Amin led a late charge that saw 58 runs scored in the fi­nal four overs. New Zealand, in re­ply, were never up with the run chase, and man­aged 163 for six in their 20 overs. The de­feat fol­lowed a 48-run loss in the sec­ond game, after New Zealand swept the one-day se­ries and won the first T20. The con­sec­u­tive de­feats, fol­low­ing an un­beaten 13-match win­ning streak across all for­mats against the West Indies and Pak­istan, put a damp­ener on New Zealand’s prepa­ra­tion for next month’s tri­an­gu­lar se­ries with Aus­tralia and Eng­land. Za­man was the ar­chi­tect at the start of the Pak­istan in­nings with a sharp 46 be­fore be- ing dis­missed in a de­bat­able de­ci­sion when Tom Bruce took a catch at ground level. Tele­vi­sion re­plays were in­con­clu­sive on whether the ball touched the grass, and after lengthy de­lib­er­a­tions the third um­pire ruled in favour of the on-field de­ci­sion. New Zealand man­aged to ar­rest Pak­istan’s brisk early run rate in the mid­dle of the in­nings be­fore Amin en­sured a com­pet­i­tive to­tal at the end. The 28-year-old left-han­der smacked his 21 off the first five balls in an over from Ish Sodhi be­fore the New Zealand spin­ner claimed the wicket off his fi­nal de­liv­ery. Haris So­hail chipped in with 20 off 12 balls while Aamer Yamin, re­plac­ing the in­jured Hasan Ali, faced six de­liv­er­ies for his 15. New Zealand strug­gled from the start of their re­ply to get near the re­quired run rate of more than nine an over, and were in early trou­ble when Fa­heem Ashraf claimed Kane Wil­liamson for nine. Martin Gup­till at­tempted to bully the bowlers but it was pri­mar­ily a lone stand. When he was re­moved for 59 off 43 balls in the 13th over, the re­quired run rate had shot up to 13.57. Ross Tay­lor put the ball over the bound­ary fence three times in his 25 off 10 balls. But with his dis­missal in the 17th over, New Zealand were 128 for five and their hopes of a mirac­u­lous come­back were over.

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