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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Pakistan edge New Zealand in Abu Dhabi thriller to take lead in T20 series

Hosts claimed their seventh T20 win in a row with a two-run victory over the Black Caps

Pakistan players celebrate after beating New Zealand in the first Twenty20 match in Abu Dhabi. AFP
Pakistan players celebrate after beating New Zealand in the first Twenty20 match in Abu Dhabi. AFP

Pakistan claimed their seventh Twenty20 win in a row, and 15th in 17 games, after a thrilling two-run victory over New Zealand at the Zayed Cricket stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Choosing to bat first, Pakistan lost both openers in the space of five deliveries before Mohammed Hafeez and Asif Ali rebuilt the inning with a 67-run stand of 51 balls for the third wicket.

Babar Azam (7) was first to depart, caught behind by Tim Seifert off Adam Milner before Shahibzada Farhan (1) slogged one straight to Colin Munro at deep square leg for left arm spinner Ijaz Patel’s first wicket in international cricket.

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Hafeez, coming in at No 4 after opening the batting against Australia, stroked a top score 36-ball 45 before being dismissed by stunning Tim Southee catch at backward point for Miner’s second scalp.

New Zealand's fielding was outstanding with Glenn Phillips diving full length in front to hold on to a dipping catch to dismiss Asif (24) off Colin de Grandhomme to reduce Pakistan to 93-4.

Corey Anderson ran a good 25 metres from long-off to leap in front and hold on to a skier from Sarfraz off Ish Sodhi and the Kiwi all-rounder was in action again when he ran out Shoaib Malik (8) with a direct hit.

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Faheem Ashraf (10) and Imad Wasim (14) added 25 valuable runs in the last two overs, with the latter finishing with a four and six off Southee for Pakistan to close their inning at 148-6.

Munro and Phillips provided the Black Caps with a 50-run stand in six overs before Hasan provided the breakthrough when Phillips chopped on to the stumps.

Munro went on to hit an entertaining 42-ball 58 highlighted by half-a-dozen fours and three sixes.

The left hander brought his experience of playing in the recent Afghanistan Premier League to Sharjah but was next out when he hit one straight to Asif at wide long-on off leg spinner Shadab Khan in the 12th over.

New Zealand required 26 off 12 balls to seal victory. Hasan struck twice in the penultimate over to get rid of Anderson and Seifert, leaving the visitors needing 17 off the final over and nine of last two balls. They finished at 146-6 as Pakistan took a 1-0 lead in the three match series.

The remaining two T20s will take place in Dubai, with the next match on Friday, before the series concludes on Sunday.

Pakistan and New Zealand will then compete in a three-match one-day international series, before completing the tour with a three-match Test series.