In the third T20I match of the series between New Zealand and Pakistan, New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first, setting a target of 164 runs for Pakistan to chase. The match was played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Monday. The New Zealand team scored 163-5 in 20 overs, with captain Tom Latham scoring 64 runs in 49 balls, including seven fours and two sixes. Daryl Mitchell also contributed 33 runs in 26 balls. Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf took two wickets each, while Shadab Khan took one scalp.
Pakistan is currently leading the series 2-0 after winning the first two matches. However, New Zealand made two changes for the third T20I, with Adam Milne and Ish Sodhi returning to the side. On the other hand, Pakistan rested Zaman Khan, replacing him with Naseem Shah. The match was crucial for both teams, as they prepare for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia.
The third T20I also marked the return of Pakistani wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, who was deemed fit by the team’s medical panel after recovering from his back injury, which he sustained during the second T20I. The remaining two matches of the T20I series are scheduled for April 20 and 24 in Rawalpindi.
The New Zealand team faced several challenges during the series due to injuries and the Indian Premier League commitments of eight of their players. Captain Kane Williamson, who is nursing a bad knee injury, was also absent, leaving the captaincy to batsman Tom Latham. However, the series provided ample opportunities for newcomers to showcase their skills and earn a place in the squad.
The tour is also a significant milestone for both teams as they prepare for the 50-over World Cup in India later this year. The two teams will also play five one-day internationals after the T20I series.
The series between New Zealand and Pakistan is also noteworthy because New Zealand pulled out of their visit to Pakistan on the day of the first game in September 2021, citing security concerns. The Black Caps had played two Tests and three ODIs in Pakistan just three months ago.
In the previous match of the tri-series, played on Friday, Pakistani bowlers put up a disciplined show in the death overs, restricting the Kiwis to 163-7, despite Williamson’s 59 runs. Pakistani captain Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bowl first. New Zealand made one change, with Blair Tickner coming in for Adam Milne, while Pakistan replaced Mohammad Hasnain with Haris Rauf.
New Zealand bowler Tim Southee, who was playing his 100th T20I match, stated that the team was eager to put out one more good performance before heading to the T20 World Cup. Both teams are using the series as a last tune-up for the tournament, hoping to gain valuable experience and momentum before the event.