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Babar and Shaheen script Pakistan's victory in fifth T20I

Lahore, 27 April 2024Babar Azam stroked an entertaining half-century and Shaheen Shah Afridi produced a performance he is well-known for as Pakistan defeated New Zealand by nine runs in the fifth T20I to ensure the series ended in a two-all draw at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Saturday.

Babar scored a 44-ball 69 to inspire his side to 178 for five and then Shaheen decimated New Zealand's middle-order to return figures of 4-0-30-4 as the tourists were bowled out for 169 with four balls to spare. Twelve months ago, the five-T20I series between the two sides had also ended in a 2-2 stalemate, while New Zealand won the series in their backyard earlier in January this year by 4-1.

Babar scored at a strike-rate of nearly 157 and slapped six fours and two sixes until he was the third batter dismissed at the score of 123 in 15 overs. Fakhar Zaman and Shadab Khan continued Babar’s good work by helping Pakistan to collect 55 runs off the last five overs to reach a respectable score of 178 for five.

Fakhar ended up with a 33-ball 44 with four fours and a six, while Shadab belted a six and four in a five-ball 15 not out. Usman Khan scored 31 off 24 balls with three fours and six, and added 73 runs for the second wicket with Babar after Saim Ayub had departed in the second over.

In turn, New Zealand started off briskly and reached 81 for one in eight overs despite Shaheen sending Tom Blundell back to the pavilion in the first over. At that stage, Usama Mir sprang into action by dismissing Mark Chapman (12, 8b, 1x4) and Tim Seifert (52, 33b, 7x4s, 2x6s) in a space of 16 runs.

Shadab Khan dismissed Michael Bracewell, and Imad Wasim had the better of Cole McConchie as New Zealand slipped to 103 for five before Shaheen picked up the scalps of Jimmy Neesham, Zakary Foulkes, and Ish Sohi, leaving New Zealand reeling at 137 for eight.

Josh Clarkson and Ben Sears kept New Zealand’s hopes alive in the match when the tourists needed 12 runs off the last over with two wickets standing. However, Sears and last-man William O’Rourke were run-out in the last over bowled by Amir as New Zealand were bowled out for 169 in 19.2 overs to hand Pakistan a nine-run victory.

Scores in brief:

Pakistan beat New Zealand by nine runs in the fifth T20I

Pakistan 178-5, 20 overs (Babar Azam 69, Fakhar Zaman 43, Usman Khan 31)

New Zealand 169 all-out, 19.2 overs (Tim Seifert 52, Josh Clarkson 38 not out, Michael Bracewell 23; Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-30, Usama Mir 2-21)

Player of the match – Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan)

Player of the series – Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan)

1st T20I – Rained-off, Rawalpindi

2nd T20I – Pakistan won by seven wickets, Rawalpindi

3rd T20I – New Zealand won by seven wickets, Rawalpindi

4th T20I – New Zealand won by four runs, Lahore