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Babar Azam & Co. humbled by depleted New Zealand side, series leveled at 1-1

Babar Azam & Co. humbled by depleted New Zealand side, series leveled at 1-1

As many as 15 top-ranked Kiwi players are playing in the IPL or pulled out of the 5-match T20I series in Pakistan.

When Babar Azam returned to his role as Pakistan’s cricket team’s white-ball captain, losing to a depleted New Zealand side would have been his biggest nightmare. Yet, three matches into the PAK vs NZ T20I series, he’s been handed a resounding defeat.

All things were going well for him. After the first game was washed out, Pakistan claimed an easy victory and took a 0-1 lead in the series. But it wasn’t as smooth today (April 21). Batting first, Pakistan got off to a good start but failed to capitalize on it. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan played slow and scratchy knocks. If it weren’t for Shadab Khan’s 41(20), they might not have gotten to 178.

Easy chase for the Kiwis

Despite 179 being a subpar target, Pakistan would have backed themselves for a win. With Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shabad Khan, and Abrar Ahmed, any total would seem defendable against a New Zealand F side.

But the Kiwis shocked the home side. Tim Robinson and Tim Seifert gave them a smashing start, but it was Mark Chapman’s brilliant knock of 87(42), that got the visitors across the line with ease. “Pakistan have a great attack, but it (target) was quite chaseable,” Chapman said after the match.

Pakistan Cricket

Babar Azam rues dropped chances & under par bowling

After the match, Babar claimed that they were about 10 runs short. He attributed that to their slowing down in the middle after a strong powerplay and rued the missed chances while fielding and some below-par bowling.

“We were 10 runs short, unfortunately. I think Shadab (Khan) recovered well and built a good partnership. I think 180-190 was a par score, according to me. We tried to play according to the situation. Shadab executed his plans and played his natural game. He played as per the demands of the situation. We started well in the powerplay. If you drop catches, it will cost you. We tried to bowl according to the plans. We will try to improve and bowl better in the next game.”

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