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Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam shine as Pakistan set up T20 decider against New Zealand

Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam hit fifties as Pakistan beat New Zealand by 48 runs in the second T20 in Auckland to level the series and score their first win of the tour over Kane Williamson’s men.

cricket Updated: Jan 25, 2018 16:45 IST
By Russell Greaves
By Russell Greaves
Omnisport, Auckland
New Zealand vs Pakistan,Fakhar Zaman,Babar Azam
Fakhar Zaman’s 28-ball 50 guided Pakistan to a 48-run win over New Zealand in the second T20 in Auckland. (AFP)

Pakistan bounced back from their seven-wicket loss to bogey team New Zealand with a commanding victory at Eden Park to level the three-match Twenty20 international series. (SCORES)

Having been so soundly beaten in Wellington at the start of the week to make it 13 losses in a row against New Zealand, the tourists – thrashed 5-0 in the one-day contests – finally enjoyed a victory, bowling out the hosts for 153 to prevail by 48 runs.

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Pakistan scored 201-4 in an innings anchored by a 94-run opening stand from Fakhar Zaman (50) and Ahmed Shehzad (44), while Babar Azam’s unbeaten half-century and Sarfraz Ahmed’s brisk 41 also represented valuable contributions.

The Black Caps’ attack struggled to limit the damage, with Seth Rance smashed for 47 off his four overs, although he did account for Shehzad – the first man to fall at the end of the 10th over.

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By then a solid platform had been laid by Sarfraz’s men and Babar, who made 41 in Monday’s meeting, strengthened Pakistan’s hand with an eye-caching 29-ball knock.

It was opener Fakhar who really flexed his muscles, though, having brought up his 50 in a 28-ball blast that featured three maximums.

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The hosts’ response was laboured and wickets fell at regular intervals, with New Zealand left floundering on 64-6 in the ninth over.

Pakistan shared the wickets around, Faheem Ashraf’s 3-22 proving the best figures.

The bottom half of the New Zealand order scored more expeditiously, but Mitchell Santner’s 37 and Ben Wheeler’s 30 were not enough to apply any real pressure.

Bay Oval will host the series decider on Sunday.

First Published: Jan 25, 2018 15:34 IST