Babar heroics set New Zealand a target of 193 in 2ne T20I


LAHORE (PPI):The cricket fans feasted on yet another vintage Babar Azam innings as he scored an undefeated third T20I century (101 not out) of his career to help Pakistan reach a big total of 192-4 in the second match of the five-match series against New Zealand at the Gaddafi stadium on Saturday night.

Babar Azam hit two boundaries off the last three balls of the last over from James Neesham to reach his third century of his international career besides becoming the only the second batter behind Chris Gayle (22) to reach 9 centuries in T20s.

Earlier, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan scored 99 runs for the first wicket before Mohammad Rizwan fell off a Henry delivery in the 11th over. Mohammad Rizwan’s fall precipitated a mini collapse as Pakistan lost four wickets in the gap of 13 balls with Fakhar Zaman and Saim Ayub fell without scoring while Imad Wasim could score only two runs before he was caught behind by Tom Latham off James Neesham with total at 105-4 in 12.5 overs.

Babar Azam found an able partner in Iftikhar Ahmed and coined 77 runs in 43 balls to take Pakistan to a big total which looked improbable with wickets falling right and left of Babar Azam. Iftikhar Ahmed hit a quick-fire innings of 33 (19) including three lofty 6s and a boundary.

But talk of the town would remain Babar’s majestic knock which was a tincture of calm and aggression as his immaculate innings included 11 boundaries and three 6s. Babar was dropped on 64 when Henry fluffed a difficult chance off the bowling of Neesham in the 17th over of Pakistan innings.

Pakistan were coasting along quite freely with the score at 99-0 by the start of the 11th over but it was Matt Henry who came very close to claim back-to-back hat-tricks in the T20Is when he got rid of Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman in two consecutive deliveries but Saim Ayub averted the nat-trick.

Matt Henry was once more was pick of the bowlers for New Zealand and provided the vital breakthroughs when his team needed the most. Henry had conceded only 11 runs in the first three overs of his spell but it was Babar Azam who plundered 18 runs off his last over of the quota. Ravindra was the most economical bowler for the visitors as he conceded 22 runs obe wicket off his four overs. James Neesham was another successful bowler who claimed a wicket but conceded 48 runs. Ben Lister gave away 41 runs in his four overs while Cole McConchie cost nine runs in the only over he was trusted with by the captain. Henry Shipley leaked 31 runs in his three overs of fast bowling.

New Zealand made two changes in the outfit with Henry Shipley and Cole McConchie replacing Adam Milne and Ish Sodhi. Adam Milne had the most expensive figures of 4-0-52-2 for the Kiwis the other night while Sodhi was rested as a precaution against a niggle he sustained during the first T20I the other night.

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