Pak vs NZ: Triumphant Pakistan eye clinching T20 series against New Zealand
LAHORE: Triumphant Pakistan will try to notch their third successive win to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match T20I series against New Zealand when the two sides meet at the Gaddafi Stadium tonight.
Pakistan pocketed back-to-back wins over New Zealand with a 88- and 38-run victory over the tourists in the first and second T20Is.
Though New Zealand lost both matches fair and square, in the second game they showed promise with a better performance.
The way Kiwis showed a fighting spirit they would try and make a comeback in this game to reduce the lead taken by Pakistan.
Being 0-2 down in the five-match series, the visitors have an uphill task at their hands to script a comeback in the remaining three games.
New Zealand still have a chance to save this series but for that, they need to win all the remaining three T20 matches.
The Black Caps on both occasions failed to stop Pakistan from scoring runs. Matt Henry was the only successful bowler from their side with a hat-trick in the opening match and two wickets in the second.
The batting order of New Zealand performed better than in their second match but failed to chase the target of 193 runs and scored 154 runs in 20 overs.
Chad Bowes and Tom Latham opened the innings and provided a good opening start of 44 runs.
Mark Chapman was the most successful and highest run-scorer from their side with 65 runs to his name on 40 balls with the help of four boundaries and as many sixes.
He remained not out till the 20th over. Chad Bowes was the other batsman who put some runs on the board. He scored 26 runs off 24 balls and smashed three boundaries.
From Pakistan, Fakhar Zaman and Saim Ayub performed well in the first match but they failed in the second. Iftikhar Ahmed scored 33 runs in the second match while Babar Azam headlined with a masterclass ton.
Among the bowlers, Haris Rauf has been on fire as he took four wickets each in both games.
The Black Caps could bring in Blair Tickner in place of Ben Lister for this must-win encounter while Pakistan are expected to replace Muhammad Rizwan with Muhammad Haris due to a back injury the star batter sustained in the previous game.
The toss can play an important role in the decision of this match. As has been seen in the recent past, the team winning the toss at the venue has come out batting first and successfully defended the score.
The wicket prepared for the match at Gaddafi Stadium is expected to be full of runs. Clear weather is forecast for today.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood and Zaman Khan.
New Zealand: Tom Latham (c, wk), Chad Bowes, Mark Chapman, Dane Cleaver, Matt Henry, Ben Lister, Adam Milne, Cole McConchie, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Rachin Ravindra, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Will Young.
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