Pakistan clinch T20I series, end New Zealand tour on a high

Published January 28, 2018
Pakistani players celebrate winning the T20I series — AFP
Pakistani players celebrate winning the T20I series — AFP
Sarfraz Ahmed celebrates with fans after winning the series. —AFP
Sarfraz Ahmed celebrates with fans after winning the series. —AFP

Pakistan on Sunday defeated New Zealand by 18 runs in the third and final T20I at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.

The victory means the tourists clinched the T20 series 2-1 and end their tour Down Under on a high after being whitewashed in the ODI series.

The Green Shirts won the toss and elected to bat first.

Opener Fakhar Zaman was Pakistan's top-scorer with 46 runs off just 36 balls laced with five boundaries and a six before being dismissed by Mitchell Santner.

With seven of Pakistan's top eight batsmen scoring in double figures, Pakistan put a decent 181 runs on the board for the loss of six wickets in their allotted 20 overs.

Santner was the pick of the Kiwi bowlers, picking up two wickets for just 24 runs in his four overs.

In reply, New Zealand were uncharacteristically cautious, scoring just 32 runs in the first five overs.

The hosts were dealt the first blow when captain Kane Williamson was sent packing by Faheem Ashraf.

Faheem Ashraf celebrates the wicket of New Kane Williamson during the third Twenty20 international. —AFP
Faheem Ashraf celebrates the wicket of New Kane Williamson during the third Twenty20 international. —AFP

Pakistan wouldn't get the second wicket until the 13th over but Martin Guptill and Anaru Kitchen's cautious approach meant that only 84 runs were on the board until then.

Both Guptill (59) and Kitchen were dismissed by leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who gave away just 19 runs in his four over and was easily Pakistan's best bowler on the night.

With a 100 odd runs still to score in under eight overs, the pressure was always going to be on New Zealand.

Ross Taylor (24) and Santner (24*) also chipped in with their cameos but Pakistan were not to be denied a much-needed victory.

Shadab was named the man of the match, whereas pacer Mohammad Amir claimed the man-of-the-series accolade.

The series win sees Pakistan usurp their hosts in ICC's T20I team rankings and soar to the number one position — an accomplishment that instantly drew praise from PCB Chairman Najam Sethi.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal was also appreciative of the team's effort.

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