Babar’s ton helps Pakistan to 38-run win over New Zealand

Haris Rauf four-wicket haul gives the home side 2-0 lead over Kiwis in the five-match series

Picture source - AP
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By Sulman Ahmed

Babar Azam and Haris Rauf flourished as Pakistan beat New Zealand by 38 runs in the second game of the five-match T20I series on Saturday, April 15 at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

Babar failed to perform in the series opener, but lit up the stadium with a stupendous 58-ball hundred. His knock, laced with 11 fours and three sixes, helped Pakistan post a challenging target of 193 for the Black Caps to chase down.

The skipper needed 16 runs to reach his hundred with six balls left in Pakistan’s innings and he got there with a magnificent four through the off-side off James Neesham. Babar also equalled Glenn Maxwell and Colin Munro as the ones with three hundreds in the format.

After opting to bat first, Pakistan got off to an excellent start. Mohammad Rizwan and Babar put on 99 runs for the opening wicket off 10.4 overs to lay the platform for the hosts. Rizwan got to his half-century, after which Matt Henry dismissed him.

Henry was on a hat-trick for the second time in the series, but this time around, luck didn’t favour him. Fakhar Zaman and Saim Ayub failed to open their accounts and Pakistan were once reduced from 99 for no loss to 105 for four within a space of 13 balls.

Thereafter, Babar and Iftikhar Ahmed put on 87 runs for the fifth wicket and got Pakistan close to the 200-run mark. Iftikhar threw his bat around to stay unbeaten on 33 off 19.

Eight Kiwis are missing because of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and skipper Kane Williamson has a bad knee injury, leaving the captaincy to batsman Tom Latham – and providing plenty of opportunity for newcomers to shine.

The remaining three T20 matches are on April 17 in Lahore, and 20 and 24 in Rawalpindi.

Pakistan and New Zealand will also meet in five one-day internationals after the T20 series, honing preparations for this year´s 50-over World Cup in India.

The tour comes as something of compensation for New Zealand pulling out of their visit to Pakistan on the day of the first game in September 2021, citing security concerns.

The Black Caps played two Tests and three ODIs in Pakistan just three months ago.