Pakistan crush New Zealand to go 1-0 up

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LAHORE: Pakistan drew first blood by winning the opening game of the five-match series by a comfortable 88 runs against New Zealand here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday night.
Pakistan cracked 182 runs despite losing all of its wickets by the final over. In a collective effort shown by Fakhar Zaman and Saim Ayub and later by Faheem Ashraf, Pakistan reached to its desired total in 19.5 overs. Later Pakistan attack led by Haris Rauf made mockery of New Zealand to contain them at 94 runs for all in 15.3 overs, with 27 balls to spare.
The second game of the series will be played at the same venue on Saturday (today) and after a day’s rest the sides will meet in its third encounter on April 17 (Monday) before moving to Rawalpindi for remainder matches of the series.
In their chase, New Zealand failed to get a perfect start thus losing one of its openers Chad Bowes LBW to Zaman Khan in the second over. Shaheen Shah clean bowled Will Young (2) in his second over and the innings third when New Zealand was at 13. With opener Tom Latham holding an end, Daryl Mitchell became Faheem Ashraf’s prey in the fifth over and Kiwis were reduced to three for 29.
Pakistan attack kept a tight leash right from the start and did not let Kiwi batters get easy runs. That clever strategy of containment earned them yet another wicket and this time of Latham for 20 and New Zealand were 66 for four in the 11th over. Mark Chapman, who was joined by James Neesham, was the next to head back for 34, highest of them all that came in 27 balls aided with four fours and a six.
Haris Rauf, who had Latham in his previous over, had a quick work of Neesham (15) and then Rachan Ravindra (2) turning Pakistan in complete control in the 15th over.
As Imad took the wickets of Adam Milne (3) and Matt Henry (duck), New Zealand were in total disarray at 91 for nine. Haris then for his fourth wicket bowled out Ben Lister for a duck while Ish Sodhi remained not out (3).
Rauf finished with the figures of four for 18 while Imad took two wicket and Shaheen Shah, Zaman Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan shared one wicket each.
Earlier, Fakhar and Siam, who scored 47 runs each, came handy with the bat with a valuable partnership after Pakistan openers were out cheaply and later Faheem produced a useful innings to strengthen the total.
Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan opened the innings but they stayed together for just two overs with the later trapped before wickets by Adam Milne for his 8 and team’s 14. In a review call, umpires decision was upheld and Rizwan had to march back to the pit. As he faced 10 ball, he hit two fours.
Babar, who was playing his 100th T20 International match was joined by Fakhar Zaman. The Pakistan skipper became third player to complete century of T20 international matches. Shoaib Malik (124) and Muhammad Hafeez (119) were the first two players from Pakistan to complete the century of T20 International matches.
Najam Sethi, PCB chairman management committee, presented a special jersey to Pakistan captain Babar Azam on completing the century of T20Is. Pakistan’s legendary fast bowler and on the occasion, bowling coach Umar Gul also presented a special jersey to Shadab Khan on becoming the only Pakistan male cricketer to bag 100 T20I wickets.
Pakistan’s second major loss came in the shape of Babar’s wicket in the fifth over. Milne cleaned bowled Babar at nine with just 30 runs on the board. He also has two fours to his credit. After the departure of Rizwan and Babar, Fakhar and young Saim Ayub then had the heavy responsibility on their shoulders to build on the score. Pakistan, however, punctuated its fifty (52) in the mandatory powerplay. And then completed 100 in the 11th over with Saim batting at 45 and Fakhar 28.
But Saim was unlucky to not to get his first half century and was run out at 47 on a direct throw from James Neesham while attempting a second run. In his 28 balls innings, he sent the ball across the ropes on eight occasions with twice for a maximum score. That was also an end to a partnership for the fourth wicket which yielded 79 runs.
At 109, hope for a big score rested with Fakhar and Shadab Khan but the latter gifted his wicket to Matt Hanry at just five and Pakistan was down by four wicket at 123 in 12.5 overs. Fakhar, however, stayed put to see Iftikhar Ahmed had a thin snick out to Henry for a duck and in very next over in a desperation he did not time well to give a catch at backward square leg.
The fall of Fakhar at 47 in 34 balls (4×4, 3×6) developed anxiety in Pakistan ranks which were 131 for six in 15th over. Imad Wasim and Faheem Ashraf stayed together to get 28 runs with the former becoming the victim of Neesham. Imad made 13-ball 16.
The following batter in Shaheen Shah Afridi could not last long at the cease as his big hit towards long on was halted for six by Mitchell, who pushed the ball to Bowes, before landing outside the ropes and Shaheen was out. Faheem having scored 22 runs in 16 balls was caught and bowled by Ben Lister and Haris Rauf after hitting 11 runs in five balls became the second scalp of Lister that folded Pakistan innings with one ball to spare.
Matt Hanry took three wickets while Adam Milne and Lister shared two wickets each. One wicket apiece was shared by Neesham and Ish Sodhi.

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