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New Zealand's O'Rourke outshines Pakistan's Abbas and Fakhar

Lahore, 25 April 2024: New Zealand overcame a spirited challenge from Pakistan before romping to a four-run victory in the fourth T20I at the Gaddafi Stadium to take a 2-1 lead on Thursday evening.

Fast bowler William O’Rourke, who was later adjudged player of the match, returned with figures of three wickets for 27 runs in his 4 overs, while fellow seamer Ben Sears contributed two wickets for 27 runs in his quota of 4 overs as New Zealand successfully defended their total of 178 for seven by restricting Pakistan to 174 for eight.

Fakhar Zaman dominated Pakistan’s run-chase with a 45-ball 61. After his dismissal at 146 for six, Imad Wasim scored a quickfire 22 not out off 11 balls. However, New Zealand's bowlers bowled intelligently and prevented Wasim from taking Pakistan home.

Pakistan required 18 runs off the last over, followed by 14 runs off the last four balls, and ultimately, six runs off the final delivery.

Fakhar’s innings was studded with four fours and three sixes. Together with Iftikhar Ahmed (23), he put on 59 runs for the fifth wicket in 41 balls. Fakhar also added 33 runs from 25 balls for the fourth wicket with Shadab Khan after Saim Ayub and Usman Khan had stitched a 27-run second wicket partnership.

Earlier, New Zealand posted 178 for seven with Tim Robinson scoring his maiden half-century in his fourth appearance. He scored 51 off 36 balls with four fours and two sixes.

Robinson was involved in two quick partnerships that set the platform for a big total before young Pakistani bowler Mohammad Abbas Afridi showcased his talent and capability to restrict the visitors to 178 for seven. For the first wicket with Tom Blundell (28), Robinson put on 56 runs in 31 balls, while he added 38 runs from 32 balls for the second wicket with Dean Foxcroft (34).

After New Zealand had raced to 93 for one in 10 overs, they moved to 135 for four after 15 overs before adding 43 runs off the final five overs. The visitors will be thankful to the fifth-wicket 37-run partnership off 26 balls between captain Michael Bracewell (27) and Jimmy Neesham for lifting them to a competitive score.

Mohammad Abbas Afridi showcased his pace and skill with figures of three for 20, entertaining the packed Gaddafi Stadium. Abbas accounted for Robinson, Bracewell, and Josh Clarkson.

The series-decider will be played on Saturday with the match starting at 7.30 pm.

Scores in brief:

New Zealand beat Pakistan by four runs, 4th T20I

New Zealand 178-7, 20 overs (Tim Robinson 51, Dean Foxcroft 38, Tom Blundell 28, Michael Bracewell 27; Mohammad Abbas Afridi 3-20)

Pakistan 174-8, 20 overs (Fakhar Zaman 61, Iftikhar Ahmed 23, Imad Wasim 22 not out, Saim Ayub 20; William O’Rourke 3-27, Ben Sears 2-27)

Player of the match – William O’Rourke (New Zealand)