Top in T20I rankings Pakistan seal T20I series 2-1
Pakistan laid claim to being the best T20I rankings side in the world on Sunday (January 28) after beating New Zealand in the series-deciding third Twenty20 match in Mount Maunganui.
The 18-run victory gave Pakistan a come-from-behind 2-1 series win that will see them overtake New Zealand at the top of the world T20I rankings.
Sarfraz Ahmed, the captain, leaped with delight after the final ball as Pakistan pulled off back-to-back wins over the hosts.
Batting first on a friendly wicket, Pakistan reached 181 for 6 with Fakhar Zaman making 46 off 36 at the top of the innings. Umar Amin led a late charge that saw 58 runs scored in the final four overs.
New Zealand, in reply, were never up with the run chase and managed 163 for 6 in their 20 overs.
The defeat followed a 48-run loss in the second game after New Zealand swept the one-day series and won the first T20I.
“It was a tough tour for us because… we lost the (ODI) series but T20I rankings is a totally different format,” said Mohammad Amir, who won the man-of-the-series award. “It is very special for all Pakistani people.”
Sarfraz praised the team effort and the way his side refused to be bowed after a disappointing start to the tour. “The way we came back after 6-0, credit goes to my boys. They worked really hard and now we are again number one.”
The consecutive defeats, following an unbeaten 13-match winning streak across all formats against Windies and Pakistan, put a dampener on New Zealand’s preparation for next month’s triangular series with Australia and England.
New Zealand managed to arrest Pakistan’s brisk run-rate in the middle of the innings before Amin ensured a competitive total at the end.
The 28-year-old left-hander smacked his 21 off the first five balls in an over from Ish Sodhi before the New Zealand spinner claimed the wicket off his final delivery.
Haris Sohail chipped in with 20 off 12 balls while Aamer Yamin, replacing the injured Hasan Ali, faced six deliveries for his 15.
New Zealand struggled from the start of their reply to get near the required run-rate of more than nine an over and was in early trouble when Faheem Ashraf claimed Kane Williamson for nine.
Martin Guptill attempted to bully the bowlers but it was primarily a lone stand. When he removed for 59 off 43 balls in the 13th over, the required run-rate had shot up to 13.57.
Ross Taylor put the ball over the boundary fence three times in his 25 off 10 balls.
But with his dismissal in the 17th over, New Zealand were 128 for 5 and their hopes of a miraculous comeback were over.
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