New Zealand vs Pakistan 2nd T20: Zaman stars as Pakistan snap losing streak and level series at 1-1

Fakhar Zaman 50 New Zealand Pakistan 2nd T20 Auckland cricket

Fakhar Zaman made his highest score in Twenty20 Internationals

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman hammered a 28-ball 50 to lead his side to a convincing 48-run win over New Zealand in the second Twenty20 International in Auckland.

Prior to this match, Pakistan had lost every game in the five-match ODI series and the first Twenty20 International as well.

Choosing to bat first, Pakistan got off to a fantastic start as Zaman and Ahmed Shehzad amassed a 94-run partnership, during which Zaman brought up his fifty, before Shehzad was caught by Colin de Grandhomme at long-on off the bowling of Seth Rance for 44.

Zaman was unable to push on after bringing up his half-century as he was caught by Ish Sodhi at fine leg off the bowling of De Grandhomme for 50, which came off 28 balls and included five boundaries and three sixes.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Babar Azam stabilised the innings with a 91-run stand before Sarfraz was dismissed by Ben Wheeler for a 24-ball 41.

Even though Faheem Ashraf fell two balls later, Pakistan finished on 201/4 thanks to Azam’s 29-ball 50, which included five boundaries and a six.

Babar Azam 50 New Zealand Pakistan 2nd T20 Auckland cricket

Babar Azam struck his third half-century in the shortest format

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Wheeler was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Rance and De Grandhomme chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 202 to win, New Zealand made a brisk start to their innings before Colin Munro and skipper Kane Williamson were dismissed in quick succession.

After adding 19 runs to their score, New Zealand continued to collapse as Tom Bruce, Martin Guptill, Glenn Phillips and De Grandhomme were all dismissed.

With the Black Caps teetering at 64/6, Mitchell Santner and Wheeler provided some resistance as they put together a 54-run partnership.

However, New Zealand’s minor comeback was halted when Wheeler was clean bowled by Hasan Ali for 30.

Santner went on to score 37 before being caught behind off the bowling of Amir. Once he was gone, Rance and Sodhi followed soon after and New Zealand were bowled out for 153.

Ashraf was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Amir and Shadab Khan snapped up two wickets apiece. As for Hasan and Rumman Raees, they claimed one wicket each.

Williamson admitted that his side were outplayed, and said: “Pakistan were excellent in all departments, and we were poor in all departments. When you catch Pakistan when they’re on fire, this is the result we get. Santner and Wheeler really came off today, so we do have belief in the camp, but it just didn’t come off today.

“Bowling at the death is always tough, but overall the seamers have been bowling well. Simply, they got a lot of runs and we didn’t. Looking forward to the final game. A bit of a shame tonight. We pride ourselves on our performances, but it’s important to move on. It’s a great opportunity to figure what went wrong, but after all it’s T20 cricket.”

Sarfraz was thrilled that his side snapped their losing streak, and said: “Credit goes to our openers Fakhar and Shehzad. They did the job. We knew 170 was the par score, and we knew it we bat well we’ll reach that far.

“We wanted to score 200, that’s why we wanted to bat first. Credit goes to all bowlers as well. Not easy to bowl in such a small ground. Not easy captaining on a ground like this, so it’s very difficult to play in Auckland.”

Zaman was named Man of the Match, and said: “First win after a long time, so very happy. The wicket was much better than the first game. We took our time and after 2-3 overs we played our shots. Our plan was to survive the Powerplay today. We did that, and we got the result. Enjoying my form at the moment.”

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