Pakistan defeated New Zealand in the T20 tri-series final on Friday© AFP
All-rounder Mohammad Nawaz helped Pakistan to a five-wicket win over New Zealand on Friday and won the Tri-Series Twenty20 final in Christchurch by three balls from time. It boded well for Pakistan to face arch-rivals India in an opening game at the World Cup in Australia on October 23. After the hosts finished 163-7 at Hagley Oval, spinner Michael Bracewell checked Pakistan’s early momentum in his response. before Nawaz rose with his crucial 38 from 22 balls.
Nawaz, who also helped Pakistan out of trouble in Thursday’s stalemate against Bangladesh, delivered another outstanding innings before Iftikhar Ahmed sealed victory with a six in the final over.
The Black Caps got off to a good start with captain Kane Williamson, the top scorer, with a masterful stroke play that hit 59 balls from 38 balls.
The hosts flew out of the traps as Finn Allen hit three fours before being caught by Naseem Shah with 12 from six.
Williamson came in to settle nerves with his first half-century in any format in 2022 after struggling for form following an elbow injury.
In response, Pakistan openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan batted Tim Southee for nine runs on his 100th T20 international appearance in the opening game and beat Trent Boult for 10 in the second.
Spinner Bracewell took the ball and snatched the wickets from Azam and Shan Masood. Bracewell ended up being the man of the series.
Ish Sodhi then hit Dangerman Rizwan lbw for 34 carries, 29 balls.
But just like against Bangladesh, Nawaz crouched to regain control of the game and Iftikhar’s commanding six with three balls remaining secured the win in style.
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