New test captain Mohammad Rizwan showed his quality of leadership in a daring 89 innings that sent Pakistan to a four-wicket victory over New Zealand in the third Twenty20 on Tuesday. Rizwan will lead Pakistan in the two-game test series against New Zealand that starts on Sunday in place of Babar Azam, who is injured. In the absence of Azam, he also opened the innings in all three T20s, making 17 in Auckland and 22 in Hamilton, before taking a first half century and best 89 of his career from 59 balls on Tuesday. Rizwan didn’t beat his previous record of 33. Under Rizwan’s leadership, Pakistan surpassed New Zealand’s moderate total of 173-7 with two balls left.
Rizwan beat his team in sight of victory when he was out in the final at 171-6. Pakistan needed three more points to win with four balls left. Iftikhar Ahmed settled the issue when he lifted the last ball’s fourth ball out of the ground for six, bringing Pakistan to 177-6. New Zealand had already secured the series, but Pakistan’s victory at McLean Park puts it in a much more positive frame of mind for the test series.
Pakistan won the coin toss in all three games and hit first in the first two. A change of tactics on Tuesday to be the first to bowl on a tricky field proved successful. Rizwan put on 40 for the first wicket with Haider Ali (11), then 72 in a match-winning partnership with Mohammad Hafeez.
Hafeez came off his unbeaten 99 in the second T20 and made 41 of 29 balls with two fours and three sixes. When he was out, Hafeez came just 12 runs short of Shoaib Malik’s record of 2,335 runs for Pakistan in T20s. Pakistan had nervous moments towards the end of the innings, especially when Tim Southee sent off Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan with consecutive deliveries totaling 163. Iftikhar survived the hat-trick ball and later hit the winning runs.
“We have lost the series, but the last game is very important for the next series,” said Rizwan.
“We wanted to create energy in this competition, so we are moving forward in the test competition.” It is a great honor for me to be named the leader of Pakistan. It is a dream for me and I cannot explain my happiness. “
New Zealand’s innings progressed in fits and starts. While partnerships were created, few survived. The field was two speeds, and the slower ball or cross-seamer was especially effective against batsmen trying to settle down.
Martin Guptill and Tim Seifert looked strong in a 40-run partnership for the first wicket, but both were eliminated after making starts. Guptill again couldn’t build a solid start, he made 19 of 16 balls before being caught halfway through by Shadab from Haris Rauf’s bowling in the fifth over.
Captain Kane Williamson, who made an undefeated half century in the second T20 on Sunday – returning to the New Zealand team after the birth of his first child – only managed four balls before being bowled by Faheem for 1.
Williamson tried to cut a ball that was too close to him and chopped the ball onto his stumps. After 57 and an unbeaten 84, Seifert was at 35 and confident, having hit two fours and three sixes, when he pushed forward too hard at Ashraf and was thrown by a ball that dived back through the fence.
Devon Conway made 63 to steer the rest of the innings. New Zealand was 58-3 in the eighth when Seifert was out and Conway added 51 with Glenn Phillips (31) for the fourth wicket to give the innings a stronger base.
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