Mohammad Rizwan shines in final T20I as Pakistan avoid whitewash

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Napier: Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan batted with great composure and guided Pakistan to a comfortable four-wicket win over New Zealand in the final T20I at McLean Park.

The 28-year-old scored 89 off 59 balls which included 10 fours and three sixes. Veteran Mohammad Hafeez was the other notable batsman, scoring 41 off 29 balls.

Earlier, Devon Conway’s late flourish guided New Zealand to 173/7 after Shadab Khan opted to bowl. The 29-year-old Conway rescued Blackcaps’ inning after they were 58/3 in 7.2 overs.

Conway scored 63 off 45 balls which included seven fours and a six. Glenn Phillips and Tim Seifert made 31 and 35 respectively.

For Pakistan, Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the bowlers, taking three for 20 while Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah picked two each but were expensive in their quota of four overs.

Set to chase 174, Pakistan off to a decent start with Rizwan and Haider Ali, posting a 40-run stand for the opening wicket.

Haider (11) was dismissed courtesy of a spectacular catch by substitute fielder Daryl Mitchell. Rizwan was then accompanied by Hafeez in the middle.

Hafeez became the leading run-getter in 2020 as he scored 415 runs. He surpassed India’s K.L. Rahul, who scored 404 runs.

Hafeez also equaled Shoaib Malik’s record of highest-run getter by a Pakistani batsman in this format. Both of them now stand at 2323 runs.

Hafeez and Rizwan posted a 72-run stand after Scott Kuggelejin removed him in the 14th over. Hafeez with the help of three sixes and two fours, scored 41.

Rizwan continued to hold one end and brought up his maiden T20I fifty off 40 balls. Khushdil Shah joined the party and smacked two fours for his 13.

The drama didn’t end as Tim Southee dismissed Faheem and Shadab on the second and third delivery of the penultimate over.

Rizwan looked to finish the chase with a fancy shot but was removed by Kyle Jamieson. Iftikhar Ahmed smashed six off the next delivery to hand Green Shirts a solidarity win and most importantly they avoided the whitewash.

Rizwan was named player of the match while Blackcaps’ Seifert was awarded player of the series for registering two fifties and scoring 176 runs.

Both teams will now travel to Mount Maunganui for the first Test of the two-match series, starting from December 26.

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