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Mohammad Rizwan's sublime 89 sets up four-wicket win for Pakistan in final T20I
Match Report

Mohammad Rizwan's sublime 89 sets up four-wicket win for Pakistan in final T20I

Mohammad Rizwan played the anchor role supremely during Pakistan's chase to help his team clinch a four-wicket win in the third T20I to avert a series whitewash against New Zealand.

Amidst the public scrutiny of the team management's decision to promote Rizwan up the order in the absence of Babar Azam, Pakistan stuck with the wicketkeeper in the opening slot for the last match as well.

Rizwan thus perfectly repaid the faith bestowed in him by the selectors by striking a wonderful knock marked by an immaculate changing of gears.

He was a tad slow to begin after finding it difficult to adjust on the two-paced surface off the bowling of Tim Southee.

Rizwan's initial hesitancy paved the way for a flurry of cracking shots to release the early pressure on Pakistan before Haider Ali fell courtesy a stunning catch from substitute fielder Daryl Mitchell.

Rizwan was then involved in a superb 72-run stand for the second wicket with veteran Mohammad Hafeez with the latter taking charge for the majority of their partnership.

Continuing his dream run in the shortest format, Hafeez pumped the New Zealand bowlers for three sixes and two fours in his valuable contribution of 41 runs.

Hafeez's departure was followed by Rizwan stamping his authority on the proceedings and punishing the bowlers for their wayward lengths.

The short ball, which had proven to be the kryptonite for Pakistan's batters throughout the series, was frequently pummelled by Rizwan towards the boundary fence.

He smoked three delightful sixes, all off length deliveries, during his excellent innings and pierced the gaps with surgical precision to take his team closer to the finishing line.

Pakistan had a bit of a stumble in the back end of their chase when Tim Southee struck on successive balls to remove Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan in the penultimate over.

Rizwan got out for 89 in the final over, further reviving New Zealand's hopes of a dramatic comeback before Iftikhar Ahmed sealed the deal with an enormous six that touched the rooftop.

The home side had actually performed exceptionally in the second half of their innings to reach a competitive score of 173/7.

Devon Conway smashed 63 from 45 balls while Glenn Phillips hit a 20-ball 31 to recover New Zealand's batting effort after Faheem Ashraf wreaked havoc with a fantastic spell of 3/20.