Tom Latham leads New Zealand to victory with a well-made fifty in third T20I

New Zealand post 163-5 in their allotted 20 overs with skipper Tom Latham scoring a fifty

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Chad Bowes has his stumps destroyed during the third T20I between Pakistan and New Zealand. — PCB
Chad Bowes has his stumps destroyed during the third T20I between Pakistan and New Zealand. — PCB

New Zealand secured a victory against Pakistan by four runs in the third T20I of the series held at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Monday. 

Despite a valiant effort by middle-order batter Iftikhar Ahmed, who scored a rapid 60 runs off just 24 balls, Pakistan was unable to chase down the target of 164 runs and were bowled out for 159 on the final ball of the innings.

James Neesham was New Zealand's top-performing bowler with three wickets, while Rachin Ravindra and Adam Milne claimed two each. In contrast, Pakistan's captain Babar Azam, who had scored a century in the previous match, was only able to score a single run off six balls.

Earlier, New Zealand had posted a total of 163-5 in their 20 overs, with skipper Tom Latham scoring a well-made fifty, scoring 64 runs in 49 balls with the help of seven fours and two sixes. Daryl Mitchell also contributed to the score with 33 runs off 26 balls. 

Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf claimed two wickets each for Pakistan, while Shadab Khan took one.

The home team has taken a commanding 2-1 lead in the series after winning the first two matches with relative ease. Despite the loss, Pakistan's wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan has been deemed fit to play in the third T20I by the team's medical panel after recovering from his back injury sustained during the second T20I.

New Zealand has made two changes to their team for the third T20I, with Adam Milne and Ish Sodhi returning to the squad. Meanwhile, Pakistan has rested Zaman Khan and brought in Naseem Shah in his place. The remaining two matches of the T20I series will take place on April 20 and 24 in Rawalpindi.

The absence of eight Kiwi players due to their commitments in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has provided plenty of opportunities for newcomers to shine. Additionally, Kane Williamson's knee injury has left batsman Tom Latham in charge of the captaincy.

Following the T20I series, Pakistan and New Zealand will compete in five one-day internationals as part of their preparations for this year's 50-over World Cup in India. This tour serves as compensation for New Zealand's withdrawal from their scheduled visit to Pakistan in September 2021 due to security concerns. The Black Caps had played two Tests and three ODIs in Pakistan just three months ago.

Playing XI

Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah

New Zealand: Tom Latham (c & wk), Chad Bowes, Will Young, Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman, James Neesham. Rachin Ravindra, Adam Milne, Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi, Ben Lister