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Pakistan flex batting muscle to level series against New Zealand

Fakhar Zaman came up with a man of the match performance
Fakhar Zaman came up with a man of the match performance

Pakistan 201-4 (Zaman 50) beat
New Zealand 153 (Ashraf 3-22) by 48 runs
Second Twenty20 International in Auckland

A dominant batting performance from Pakistan saw them post 201 for four in their 20 overs following which the bowlers did well to keep New Zealand down to 153 in the chase to complete a 48-run victory in the second Twenty20 International in Auckland and level the series 1-1.

Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat first on a pitch that looked perfect for stroke making. Zaman (50) and Ahmed Shehzad (44) struck nine boundaries in the powerplay phase as Pakistan raced to 61 for naught in the first six overs.

In the eighth over from Mitchell Santner (0-30), Zaman struck three sixes as he completed his maiden T20I fifty off 26 deliveries. Seth Rance (1-47) finally managed to provide a breakthrough when he had Shehzad caught at long on, that brought an end to a 94-run opening stand.

Zaman also fell soon after as he was caught at long leg to give Colin de Grandhomme (1-18) a wicket and even though New Zealand managed few quiet overs following his departure, Babar Azam (50 not out) and Sarfraz Ahmed (41) provided the much needed late flourish as they added 91 runs off just 48 deliveries to lift the total to 201 for four in 20 overs.

Martin Guptill (26) started the chase briskly but Mohammad Amir (2-28) trapped Colin Munro (2) LBW in the third over while Rumman Raees (1-27) had Kane Williamson (0) caught at short mid-wicket.

With Tom Bruce (11) also run out by Sohail, New Zealand ended the powerplay with a score of 49 for three. With Shadab Khan (2-27) controlling the middle overs and in the process also accounted for Guptill and Colin de Grandhomme (10).

Santner (37) and Ben Wheeler (30) tried to show some fight down the order but New Zealand succumbed to a 48-run defeat - their first in the ongoing contest against Pakistan this season as the series is levelled 1-1.

Zaman was awarded the player of the match for his blistering half-century earlier in the game.

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