Iftikhar Ahmed in action in the final match of T20I tri-series against New Zealand.© AFP
Pakistan defeated New Zealand by five wickets in the T20I tri-series final match at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval on Friday. Chasing a target of 164 runs in 20 overs, Pakistan needed two runs to win off the final four balls. This is when Iftikhar Ahmed went across the stumps and smashed Blair Tickner for a six over the deep square leg to seal the game for Pakistan. The fielder at the boundary put a good effort yet failed to stop the six.
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Iftikhar scored 25 not out off 14 balls while Mohammad Nawaz also played a crucial knock of 38 not out off 22 balls as Pakistan reached home with three balls to spare. It was a good sign for Pakistan going into the World Cup in Australia, with an opener against arch-rivals India on October 23. After the hosts finished on 163 for 7 at Hagley Oval, spinner Michael Bracewell checked Pakistan’s early momentum in their reply, before Nawaz stepped up with his decisive knock.
Having also steered Pakistan out of trouble in Thursday’s dead-rubber win over Bangladesh, Nawaz produced another stellar innings before Iftikhar Ahmed sealed victory with a six in the final over.
It is worth noting that Nawaz had also contributed with the ball by returning figures of 1 for 33 in four overs. Meanwhile, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf picked two wickets each for Pakistan in the game.
(With AFP Inputs)
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