Fifties from Babar, Fakhar go in vain as New Zealand take 2-0 lead

By our correspondent
HAMILTON: Pakistan fell 22 runs short while chasing 195 against New Zealand at Seddon Park, Hamilton in the second T20I of the five-match series. On the back of an outstanding half-century by Finn Allen, New Zealand posted 194 for the loss of eight wickets in the first innings. In return, Pakistan were bowled out for 173 courtesy of a solid performance by the home side’s bowling attack.
Pakistan won the toss and opted to field first. A 59-run opening stand between Finn Allen and Devon Conway allowed New Zealand a breezy start. Aamir Jamal provided the first breakthrough for Pakistan by removing Conway (20, 15b, 3x4s) in the last over of the powerplay.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson then stitched a 52-run partnership with Allen before he tight hamstring forced him to retire hurt after contributing a 15-ball 26, including three fours and a six. Allen’s attack saw him produce 74 from 41 balls, showcasing seven boundaries and five maximums before he fell to a googly by Usama Mir in the 13th over, handing the latter his maiden T20I wicket.

Seventh batter in, Mitchell Santner, made 25 from 13, including three fours and two sixes to help bring back momentum for New Zealand, who ended their innings at 194-8 in 20 overs.

Right-arm pacer Haris Rauf, who bagged three scalps in one over, was the most successful bowler for Pakistan. He was supported by fellow right-arm pacer Abbas Afridi, who accounted for two wickets. Aamir and Usama had a wicket each.

Chasing 195, the visitors struggled at the start losing opening batters Saim Ayub (1, 3b) and Mohammad Rizwan (7, 5b, 1×6) inside the first two overs. Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman batted well to add 87 runs for the third-wicket partnership, bringing a semblance of stability to the innings.

Adam Milne struck in the 10th over to turn the tide for New Zealand as he disturbed Fakhar’s stumps, who walked back after scoring a fiery 25-ball 50, studded with three fours and five sixes. Pakistan then lost Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan and Aamir cheaply to bring the total to 125-6 in 14.3 overs.

Babar completed his 32nd T20I half-century (66, 43b, 7x4s, 2x6s) before he was caught by Tim Southee off Ben Sears’ bowling. Pakistan captain Shaheen Shah Afridi added a quick-fire 22 from 13, including one four and two maximums, attempting to keep Pakistan in the game, until he fell to Milne.

A four-wicket haul by Milne, complemented by two wickets each by Sears, Southee and Ish Sodhi helped dismiss Pakistan for 173, to award New Zealand their second consecutive victory. Allen was adjudged player of the match for his impressive performance.

Pakistan and New Zealand play the third T20I on 17 January at University Oval, Dunedin. The first ball is expected to be bowled at 0500 PKT while the toss will take place at 0430 PKT.

Scores in brief:

New Zealand win against Pakistan by 21 runs

New Zealand 194-8, 20 overs (Finn Allen 74, Kane Williamson 26 (retired hurt), Mitchell Santner 25; Haris Rauf 3-38, Abbas Afridi 2-43, Aamir Jamal 1-42, Usama Mir 1-39)

Pakistan 173 all out, 19.3 overs (Babar Azam 66, Fakhar Zaman 50, Shaheen Shah Afridi 22; Adam Milne 4-33, Ben Sears 2-28, Tim Southee 2-31, Ish Sodhi 2-33)

Player of the match – Fin Allen (New Zealand)

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