RAWALPINDI: Mark Chapman’s astounding unbeaten century-knock bolstered New Zealand to seal a stunning six-wicket victory over Pakistan in the fifth PAK vs NZ T20I and forced the five-match series to end in a 2-2 draw.
Set to chase a mammoth 194, New Zealand comfortably chased down the total for the loss of just four wickets and four balls to spare, thanks to a magical knock by Chapman.
Earlier in the run chase, the touring side got off to a poor start as they lost three wickets for just 26 runs in the fourth over with Shaheen Shah Afridi and Imad Wasim leading the bowling charge for Pakistan.
After an early setback, Chapman alongside Daryl Mitchell started New Zealand’s recovery as the pair stitched a crucial 47-run partnership until Imad struck in the 10th over, bringing down the curtains on Mitchell’s 19-run knock.
Chapman then received massive support in the form of all-rounder James Neesham and the pair soon turned the tables on the strong Pakistan bowling attack.
The duo thrashed Pakistan bowlers all around the park on their way to a match-winning 121-run partnership, which saw New Zealand sealing the decisive fifth T20I and forcing a series stalemate.
Chapman smashed 11 boundaries and four sixes on his way to an unbeaten 104 off 57 deliveries while Neesham remained unbeaten on 45 in 25 balls. He hit four boundaries and two sixes.
For Pakistan, Imad and Shaheen picked up two wickets while the rest went wicketless.
Put into bat first by New Zealand captain Tom Latham, Pakistan piled a massive total on the scoreboard in their allotted 20 overs at the back of a magnificent 98-run knock by Rizwan.
Earlier, Pakistan’s dependable opening pair of Babar Azam and Rizwan scripted a flying start for the home side as they raised a brisk 50-run partnership inside the batting powerplay before Blair Tickner struck gold for New Zealand.
The right-arm pacer dismissed Pakistan skipper Babar in the sixth over, who could score 19 off 18 deliveries, laced up with three boundaries.
Pakistan then succumbed to 52/3 in just four deliveries as young batters Mohammad Haris and Saim Ayub perished on ducks.
Rizwan, on the other hand, stood firm amid the brief collapse and stitched an anchoring partnership with in-form Iftikhar Ahmed.
The pair raised 71 runs for the fourth wicket before Iftikhar perished while attempting to hit back-to-back sixes off Tickner. He smashed three boundaries and two sixes on his way to a 22-ball 36.
After Iftikhar’s departure, all-rounder Imad Wasim supported Rizwan brilliantly and further sky-rocketed the home side’s total with a 68-run partnership.
Imad remained the core aggressor of the fifth-wicket stand with Rizwan as he struck a quickfire 31 off just 14 deliveries, hitting five boundaries and a six before perishing in the final over.
Rizwan, on the other hand, carried his bat all the way through but failed to convert his terrific knock into a century as James Neesham deceived him on the final delivery to deny the former’s milestone.
He top-scored for Pakistan with an unbeaten 98 off 62 deliveries with the help of seven boundaries and four sixes.
Tickner led the bowling attack for New Zealand with 3/33 while Ish Sodhi followed him with one scalp.