Pakistan vs New Zealand, 2nd T20: Pakistan clinch 11th T20 series win on the bounce, beat New Zealand by 6 wickets
Pakistan coasted to an 11th successive Twenty20 series victory after beating New Zealand by six wickets in the second match on Friday.
Babar Azam top-scored with 40 and Mohammad Hafeez provided the finish with an unbeaten 34 off 21 balls as Pakistan cruised to 154-4 with two balls to spare.
New Zealand scored a competitive 153-7 after captain Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat, but Pakistan paced its chase to perfection.
“We know we can get 150-160,” Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said.
“So if we start well and if we don’t let too many dot balls in the middle, we have the experience of Hafeez and (Shoaib) Malik as well.”
New Zealand opening batsman Colin Munro hit a blistering 44 off 28 balls, and Corey Anderson produced a brisk ending with an unbeaten 44 off 25 deliveries.
Young left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi grabbed 3-20 which included the key wicket of Williamson on 37, just when it seemed the New Zealand skipper was set to accelerate.
“I thought the first half was clinical from us, (we) got a good score on the board,” Williamson said.
“It’s a game of really small margins … you’re always looking for wickets, but how you get them in different conditions is the question, and often in these conditions you have to squeeze the opposition. We weren’t far away, and it’s important we make those adjustments and keep improving.”
Pakistan squeezed New Zealand’s middle order through spinners Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, and Hafeez after Munro launched the Black Caps to 50 runs in the first six overs.
Left-arm spinner Wasim, who was hammered for 13 runs in the first over, came back well and conceded just 12 in his next three overs after Hafeez got Munro stumped in the seventh over.
But Anderson provided a late flourish with five fours and two sixes as fast bowler Hasan Ali conceded 43 runs off his three overs.
Pakistan’s chase made an ideal through fit-again Fakhar Zaman’s 24 off 15 balls before a diving Williamson took a stunning low left-handed catch at long off to dismiss the left-hander.
Zaman and Asif Ali, with 38, then rotated the strike well and shared a 56-run, second-wicket stand.
Colin de Grandhomme floored an easy catch in the deep which could have ended Asif Ali’s innings on 17. Munro trapped him off a low full toss while coming round the wicket.
Hafeez then took charge, hitting two sixes and bringing up the victory by slicing Adam Milne through extra cover to the boundary.
Pakistan won the first T20 on the last ball, and will be eyeing its second successive clean sweep in T20 series in the last match on Sunday. Pakistan swept Australia 3-0 last month in the United Arab Emirates.