Pakistan seal 11th straight T20I series


DUBAI: Pakistan secured their 11th straight T20I series win on Friday by defeating New Zealand by six wickets and two balls to spare, courtesy of a timely knock of 34 by Mohammad Hafeez.

A masterful chase from Pakistan helped them secure their 11th straight series win – and 11th consecutive win in a T20I chase. They might have taken it to the last over – to the final two deliveries – but make no mistake, Pakistan were in charge of it almost every step of the way.

Pakistan fans have too many bitter experiences over the years, and that mental scarring meant collective sighs of relief were not heaved until Hafeez played one of the shots of the day to lift Adam Milne over extra cover for four to seal victory.

Useful contributions were made by Babar Azam (40) and Asif Ali (38).

Shaheen Shah Afridi picked up three wickets for just 20 runs to dent the opposition’s batting power. Hafeez and Imad Wasim picked up one wicket each.

But in truth, all throughout the innings, Pakistan had paced it well enough to remain one step ahead of New Zealand, who once again showed enough to suggest this will be a fiercely competitive tour.

In the opening game, New Zealand narrowly missed out on a winning start to their tour by two runs in a thrilling finish on Wednesday, as left-arm pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi defended 17 runs in the last over.

The victory gave world number one ranked Pakistan their seventh consecutive win since July and 15th in 17 T20 internationals this year.

Pakistan, who are on a roll after whitewashing Australia 3-0 in Dubai on Sunday, now have a 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The third and final match of the T20 series will be played on November 4th in Dubai.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed praised his team’s ‘never-say-die’ approach in bowling.

“New Zealand are a tough team, but we knew overs 6-12 were crucial and we had to restrict them there,” he said during the post-match conference.

“I thought Shaheen and Hasan were superb and we were once again led admirably by bowlers.”

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson believed his team came close to victory.

“We weren’t far away, I thought we were quite good for large parts,” said Williamson. “Pakistan pulled back after Colin Munro’s knock — they are world number one for a reason.”