Ish Sodhi is punished but Shadab Khan shines as Pakistan beat New Zealand to clinch T20I series

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Pakistan won the final T20I to clinch the series 2-1.

Pakistan ended their limited-overs tour of New Zealand on a high after beating the hosts in the third and deciding T20I by 18 runs to capture the series 2-1.

After tasting defeat in the first T20I at Wellington, Sarfraz Ahmed’s men came back strongly in the second to tie the series before turning in a fine performance to clinch the decider at Mount Maunganui on Sunday.

The visitors put up 181-6 on the board after winning the toss and batting first, before restricting Kane Williamson’s Blackcaps to 163-6 .

Here, we look at the good and the bad of the final T20I.

THE GOOD

FAKHAR ZAMAN FIRES PAKISTAN TO ROLLICKING START

Pakistan have won more often than not when Fakhar Zaman fires at the top.

The left-handed opening batsman’s quick-fire salvos  have been the hallmark of Pakistan’s strong run in the limited-overs format in 2017 including their ICC Champions Trophy triumph.

In an encore of the Auckland T20I, Zaman got the visitors off to a great start with his attacking intent.

The opener latched on to any width available to deposit the ball over cover and point in characteristic manner. He raced away to 46 off 35 balls with the help of five boundaries and a six before being caught in the deep off the bowling of Mitchell Santner.

By the time he departed in the 14th over, he had set Pakistan up nicely for a big match-winning total.

Fakhar Zaman's attacking innings put the pressure on New Zealand.

Fakhar Zaman’s attacking innings put the pressure on New Zealand.

SHADAB KHAN BREAKS KIWI RESISTANCE

New Zealand had started well in their chase of 182 with Martin Guptill motoring along nicely to a half century. Young leg-spinner Shadab Khan had been economical in his opening three overs but Guptill had set himself up nicely for the chase with 59 off just 43 deliveries.

With his final over of the day, Shadab quelled the Kiwi resistance for good with two vital wickets.

He first had Anaru Kitchen deceived by the flight and turn as the Blackcaps batsman was stumped by Sarfraz.

The youngster then had Guptill miscue a sweep straight into the hands of Fakhar to all but seal Pakistan’s win. The teenager finished with excellent figures of 2-19 off his four overs to cap off another brilliant display as his stock continues to rise.

Shadab's double strike all but ended New Zealand's hopes.

Shadab’s double strike all but ended New Zealand’s hopes.

THE BAD

ISH SODHI TAKES SOME PUNISHMENT

Ish Sodhi has been a solid and consistent performer for the Blackcaps in this format and his No1 ranking is a testament to that fact. On Sunday though, the leg-spinner failed to find his spot as he was taken to the cleaners by Pakistan’s batsmen.

Even though he claimed the wickets of Babar Azam and Umar Amin, Sodhi was the most expensive of New Zealand’s bowlers.

He was taken for nearly 12 runs an over as Pakistan’s batsmen took a liking to his spin. Sodhi ended with figures of 2-47, one of his worst returns in his T20I career.

Ish Sodhi bowled one of his worst T20I spells.

Ish Sodhi bowled one of his worst T20I spells.

KANE WILLIAMSON FAILS WITH THE BAT

With a big total to chase and Guptill firing at the other end, New Zealand needed their skipper to play the role of an anchor, much like he has done in the past.

However, the pressure of the required-rate told on Williamson after he got off to a circumspect start.

After prodding his way to 9 off 13, Williamson cut Faheem Ashraf fiercely but straight into the hands of Azam at point unfortunately.

The right-hander’s departure came at the worst possible time for the Kiwis and without his expertise in anchoring the chase, there was simply too much to do for the rest of the batsmen to come.

Williamson succumbed to the required-rate pressure.

Williamson succumbed to the required-rate pressure.

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