Match Report – NZ vs PAK 3rd T20I, January 17, 2024

New Zealand 224 for 7 (Allen 137, Seifert 31, Rauf 2-60) beat Pakistan 179 for 7 (Babar 58, Southee 2-29, Santner 1-26) by 45 runs

A blizzard of sixes off Finn Allen’s bat tumbled records in Dunedin, where his second T20I hundred deflated Pakistan and helped New Zealand pile on 224 for a comfortable 45-run win in the third T20I. For the third game in a row, New Zealand were put in to bat; and for the third time in a row, Pakistan failed to chase down the score by relying on Babar Azam again, this time to lose the series which still has two games to go.

New Zealand had been going hard with the bat all series, and Allen took it up a level on Wednesday by smashing 16 of their 18 sixes and recording the highest individual T20I score for the hosts by going past Brendon McCullum’s 123 from the 2012 World Cup. Allen’s 16 sixes are also the joint-highest in a T20I innings, which helped him sprint to a 26-ball fifty and then a 48-ball century.

Pakistan also helped Allen by bowling too short even with the new ball, and the opening batter laid into their attack with his belligerent pulls and golf-like swings down the ground.

In reply, only Mohammad Rizwan briefly gave Babar some support with his 24 but once he fell in the eighth over, no other Pakistan batter lasted more than 10 balls while Babar was out there. Babar fell for 58 while trying to up the scoring as the asking rate soared and Pakistan fell short again.

Allen demolishes Pakistan again

Allen had been going hard at the top earlier too, and with his highest T20 score, he already has 373 runs from five innings in the format this year. His assault started in the third over when he made the ball disappear beyond the square-leg boundary with consecutive sixes off Shaheen Afridi.

Haris Rauf would have thought he would have a good day when he dismissed Devon Conway in the next over that saw just two runs, but his second over – the last of the powerplay – was smashed for 28, with 27 of those coming off Allen’s bat. Whether Rauf pitched it short or on good length, Allen put them away for two fours and three sixes in the over to help New Zealand post 67 in the powerplay.

Coming into the XI for this game, Mohammad Nawaz and Mohammad Wasim combined for two boundary-less overs after that, but Allen, who crossed 50 meanwhile, then charged against Nawaz for two sixes in the ninth over. Wasim and Zaman Khan managed to keep Allen quiet with a few yorkers and slower ones to pull the scoring rate under ten briefly, but Allen took off again once Rauf returned.

He raced from 72 to 91 in just five deliveries by smashing Rauf for three sixes in an over that went for 23, and went past a hundred with a six and a four over covers off Afridi. All this, and there were seven overs still left in the innings. Even though Tim Seifert, who came in for the injured Kane Williamson, and Daryl Mitchell fell in successive overs, there was no stopping Allen. He belted Nawaz for consecutive sixes in the 15th over, and Wasim too for the same treatment when the fast bowler erred towards the pads.

It was finally an accurate length ball from Zaman that lacked pace and stopped the carnage when Allen chopped on, after the previous ball – a full toss – had been smashed into the sight screen. Allen’s 137 off 62 also featured five fours, which were hardly the highlight of the knock. His liking for the leg side was evident no matter where the ball was pitched to him – 13 of his 16 sixes landed on that area, where he smashed 95 (69%) of his total runs.

Wickets continued to fall after Allen’s in New Zealand’s attempt to score quick runs. Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner and Glenn Phillips fell in the space of seven balls as Pakistan conceded just 13 runs in the last 12 deliveries to stop New Zealand just short of their first-T20I score of 226.

Babar the lone man standing for Pakistan

Babar was left to do the bulk of the scoring without much support from the other end, amid a stiff asking rate to keep up with. The promising Saim Ayub fell to Tim Southee again after miscuing his slower ball, before Babar and Rizwan kept the chase going. Rizwan’s two meaty sixes would have given Pakistan hope as he and Babar put on 39 off 28 for the second wicket to keep them ticking at above eight runs an over, but when Santner fired one wide of the crease after seeing Rizwan charge, Seifert completed the stumping to dent Pakistan.

Fakhar could have been dismissed next over too had his leading edge off Ish Sodhi not landed in no-man’s land behind the wicketkeeper, but his luck soon ran out when he miscued Lockie Ferguson to mid-off. That left Pakistan needing 130 from 55 balls.

Babar unfurled sublime strokes like he did in his 57 and 66 in the first two games – like some wristy flicks and lofted strokes off Sodhi, even as his handsome pull off Matt Henry was probably his shot of the day. His third fifty in a row was again not enough because Azam Khan holed out to a sharp catch from Phillips at deep midwicket at the end of the 13th over, and seven balls later, Iftikhar Ahmed fell short for a quick run with a lazy attempt after he drove the ball to cover from where Santner fired in a direct hit.

Babar unleashed two more fours off Sodhi before falling in the same over, the 16th, and Pakistan’s task of scoring another 91 runs off 25 balls was not going to happen despite some boundaries from Nawaz and Afridi.

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

#Match #Report #PAK #3rd #T20I #January

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *