New Zealand takes 2-1 lead against Pakistan in T20I cricket series-Xinhua

New Zealand takes 2-1 lead against Pakistan in T20I cricket series

Source: Xinhua| 2024-04-26 10:19:16|Editor: huaxia

ISLAMABAD, April 26 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand claimed a crucial 2-1 lead in the five-match Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket series, edging past Pakistan by a mere four runs in a nail-biting encounter at the Gaddafi Stadium in the host's eastern city of Lahore on Thursday night.

With the series finely poised, both teams gear up for the decisive fifth match, slated for April 27, after one match could not be decisive due to heavy rain.

Earlier in the evening, Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first. Later New Zealand's innings was propelled by a fiery start from openers Tim Robinson and Tom Blundell, who stitched a solid 56-run partnership.

Despite Pakistan's Zaman Khan's breakthrough, Robinson pressed on, notching up his maiden T20I fifty. Pakistan fought back, with Abbas Afridi and Usama Mir claiming crucial wickets in the middle overs.

A late surge by New Zealand skipper Michael Bracewell helped visitors post a competitive total of 178 runs.

Pakistan's pursuit of a challenging 179-run target got off to a shaky start, losing skipper Babar Azam for only five runs early in the innings. Young batters Saim Ayub and Usman Khan tried to inject momentum, but quick dismissals halted their progress.

Fakhar Zaman held firm at one end, forming a crucial partnership with Iftikhar Ahmed, adding 61 runs but a quick fall of wickets couldn't avert the pressure on the hosts and Pakistan finished at 174, falling short of the target.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam said the target could be chased easily if not for the batting collapse, losing three wickets in the powerplay. The skipper explained that they have been testing different combinations by including young players to finalize the team that would play the World Cup.