New Zealand eye hat-trick in T20I series decider


The result helped New Zealand draw level after Pakistan had edged them by 16 runs in the first game in Auckland. The three-match T20I series is tied up at 1-1.

Wahab Riaz has been spearheading the Pakistani bowling attack especially since last year's ODI World Cup where his spell to Australian batsman Shane Watson was one of the highlights of the tournament. The Wellington will see the decider of the series as the both teams look forward to win the final contest and lift the trophy. Umar Gul's form is the biggest concern for Pakistan as the 31-year-old appears a pale shadow of the second highest wicket-taker in T20Is.

For Pakistan, who lost 3-0 to England in UAE in November, winning the third T20 will be the best way to silence their critics and regain some much-needed confidence before the World T20. The duo added 63 runs together before Malik departed making 39 off 30.

Apart from Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Akmal, no batsman has been up to the mark for the touring side. Shahid Afridi, the captain, went at 9.5 an over, while Wahab Riaz has been guilty of leaking runs in both games, and, as senior players, both need to step up. While Hafeez scored 19 off 23, hitting a couple of boundaries and a six, Afridi's brief innings came to an end followed by a solitary six from his bat.

Though Friday's match will be the final chance for New Zealand to play T20 cricket before the T20 World Cup, which opens for the Black Caps on March 15.

Chasing the target, New Zealand did remarkably well as they chased the entire total down without losing a single wicket.

In fact, in the last game in Hamilton, Guptill (87 not out) and Kane Williamson (72 not out) put on a record 171-run opening stand to help New Zealand overhaul Pakistan's 168 for 7 with 14 balls to spare.

NEW ZEALAND KS Williamson, CJ Anderson, TA Boult, GD Elliott, MJ Guptill, MJ Henry, AF Milne, C Munro, L Ronchiā€ , MJ Santner, LRPL Taylor.