Pakistan beat Bangladesh by seven wickets in the NZ Tri-Series

Mohammad Rizwan and captain Babar Azam shared an opening 101-run partnership as Pakistan beat Bangladesh by seven wickets and one ball remaining in New Zealand’s Twenty20 cricket tri-series on Thursday.

Babar came on 55 and Rizwan on 68 to help Pakistan overtake Bangladesh’s aggregate of 173-6. Pakistan lost Babar’s wicket and another in the 13th over and had to rely on Mohammad Nawaz, who hit an unbeaten 45 from 20 to end the win. There was a flare of concern when Rizwan went deep in the 19th over and Pakistan needed nine balls from seven. At the start of the final over, Pakistan needed eight balls out of six, but with seven wickets in hand and Nawaz still close, they were in command.

Asif Ali took a streaky single from the first ball and Nawaz played an overhead tennis shot for two from the second ball. Nawaz continued to find gaps in the field for two runs until a point four back from Nawaz from fifth ball of the over secured the win. “I think if you give the Bangladeshi bowlers a chance, they don’t take it easy because they bowl very well,” Rizwan said. “You have to hit within your plan because it’s always difficult to follow a target and you have to hold wickets.

“I would thank Nawaz for the way he struck at that wicket. If you ask me honestly, the Bangladesh bowlers bowled very well, but Nawaz’s innings were the moment that changed the whole game. The match was the last in the round-robin section of the tri-series and took place held after the finalists of the tournament had already been determined. Pakistan and New Zealand meet in the final on Friday.

Bangladesh finished the tournament without a win but picked up some momentum ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia later this month. The team’s overall result on Thursday was the best of the tournament and third-best against Pakistan in a T20 international.

Litton Das made 69 and captain Shakib Al Hasan 68 to deliver 137 runs from Bangladesh’s 173-6 overall. Her runs came from just 84 balls. “I think we played our best cricket today,” said Shakib. “Maybe we could have scored a few more runs in the last over.

We got the impression we wanted to get from this series, so it’s up to us to express ourselves and do something good for the country. “I think from a management perspective we are now very clear about which team is going to play at the World Cup and that’s exactly what we were looking for.”

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