Young Abubakr Mahmood slammed a penalty corner hat-trick in Pakistan's well-deserved 4-2 win over New Zealand in the third test at Wellington's National Hockey Stadium, taking the five-match series to 1-1.
Mahmood, who hails from Faisalabad, impressed with his match-winning performance in his first ever selection with Pakistan's senior national team.
Pakistan dominated for most of the first half. Off the second penalty corner, captain Haseem Khan put his side ahead with a well-executed indirect drill, bringing the score to Pakistan 1-New Zealand 0.
Just minutes into the second half, Pakistan doubled the advantage via another penalty corner when Abubakr’s superb low drag flick found the right corner of the goal. The third goal in the 35th minute off the fifth PC was the replica of the previous one as Abubakr was again spot on.
Down by three goals, the hosts had a hard time getting past Pakistan goal-keeper Amjad but they persisted and Cory Bennett was finally able to score.
The Green Shirts got a penalty corner of their own and the brilliant Abubakr completed his hat trick, this time off a ripper sent high to the left side of the net.
Trailing 1-4 with just seven minutes left, the Black Sticks continued finally added another goal when Stephend Jennes sent a scorcher via an upright reverse in the last minute.
The fourth test will be played on Wednesday.