Pakistan blown away by New Zealand in chilly Christchurch

Pakistan’s famed top order of Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Shan Masoon failed to fire in cold Christchurch weather as they suffered a crushing nine-wicket defeat at the hands of New Zealand in a T20I Tri-series match here on Tuesday, with the visitors managing just 130/7 in their quota of overs.

New Zealand, aided by a half century from opener Finn Allen and 49 from Devon Conway scored the required runs with 23 balls to spare to avenge their six-wicket loss in the previous game of the Tri-series at the same venue on October 8.

As the temperature dipped to 13 degrees C at the Hagley Oval, New Zealand, familiar with the conditions, faced no hurdles in racing to victory with Allen and Conway putting on 117 runs for the first wicket in 13.3 overs.

Allen was dismissed after scoring 62 from 42 balls with a four and six sixes, while Conway returned unbeaten on 49 with five fours from 46 balls. Kane Williamson was the other not out batter with nine from as many deliveries.

Earlier, Pakistan failed to get the impetus into their innings and managed only 130/7. The highest partnership of the innings was for the sixth wicket when Iftikhar Ahmed and Asif Ali put on 51 runs. Iftikhar’s run-a-ball 27 included three fours, while Asif Ali also struck three fours in a 20-ball 25 not out.

Babar Azam (21) and Mohammad Rizwan (16) had provided a 30-run first wicket start in 4.2 overs, but Pakistan slipped to 77/5 in 13.2 overs. Shan Masood scored 14, Shadab Khan managed eight and Haider Ali contributed eight.

For New Zealand, off-spinner Michael Bracewell exploited the conditions brilliantly on the slow pitch to finish with figures of 4-0-11-2. He was later adjudged player of the match. Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner snapped up two wickets for 27 runs, while fast bowler Tim Southee claimed two wickets for 31 runs.

Pakistan and New Zealand have now played three matches each and won two apiece. Bangladesh are winless after two games. Bangladesh will take on New Zealand in a must-win match on Wednesday, before taking on Pakistan on Thursday.

The final between the top-two sides will be played on Friday.

Brief scores: Pakistan 130/7 in 20 overs (Iftikhar Ahmed 27, Asif Ali 25 not out, Babar Azam 21, Mohammad Rizwan 16; Michael Bracewell 2/11, Mitchell Santner 2/27, Tim Southee 2/31) lost to New Zealand 131/1 in 16.1 overs (Finn Allen 62, Devon Conway 49 not out) by nine wickets.

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