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New Zealand beats Pakistan by 3 wickets in 4th T20, leads series 4-0

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Glenn Phillips and Daryl Mitchell rescued New Zealand after a horror start Friday and guided it to a three wicket win over Pakistan in the fourth Twenty20 international.

New Zealand lost two wickets in the first over of its innings, including Finn Allen who made a New Zealand record 137 in the third match of the series on Wednesday. It was 20-3 in the third over when Mitchell and Phillips came together.

Phillips made 70 and Mitchell 72 in an unbroken partnership of 139 from 93 balls for the fourth wicket which steered New Zealand to a win with 11 balls remaining.

Earlier Mohammad Rizwan carried his bat for 90 as the anchor of Pakistan’s innings of 158-8 as it batted first after being sent in. That total was the lowest of the five-match series so far and looked inadequate at first.

But as the ball swung under the floodlights and bounced and as boundaries proved surprisingly elusive at Hagley Oval the total became more imposing than it seemed. New Zealand was either on par or behind Pakistan for much of its innings. But with wickets in hand Phillips and Mitchell were able to hit out at the end and complete the run chase comfortably.

“I guess we always knew the new ball might do a little bit,” Mitchell said as he received the Player of the Match award.

“The way Shaheen (Afridi) and that swung it at the start made it challenging. For (Phillips) to come out and build a partnership like that and keep trying to take it as deep as we can and to finish it off, we’ll take that for sure.”

Rizwan lost his opening partner Saim Ayub (1) in the second over, then put on 51 for the second wicket with Babar Azam who was out for 19 after making half centuries in each of the previous three matches in the serious.

Pakistan struggled to find the long boundaries at Hagley Oval and was 51-1 at the end of the power play. New Zealand bowled expertly to a well-set field and Pakistan’s boundary chances often dried up.

Pakistan didn’t hit a single boundary between the sixth and 13th over. Against accurate bowling, the tourists often were left to rotate the strike by working the ball into the few gaps in the field or to deep-set fielders.

After 10 overs Pakistan was 71-2, which contained only five fours and two sixes. Rizwan’s half century came from 38 balls an included three fours and one six.

Pakistan’s hundred came up in the 16th over and there were only six overs in the innings from which 10 or more runs were scored.

The most expensive was the 19th from which Mohammad Nawaz hit three consecutive sixes from the bowling of Adam Milne.

Rizwan’s inning included six fours and two sixes and, notably, 30 singles and 12 twos.

Matt Henry, using local knowledge, hit a perfect length and took 2-22 from his four overs. Pace and spin was effective: Lockie Ferguson took 2-27 with his express pace and Mitchell Santner found bounce and turn and conceded 23 runs from his spell.

Allen was out to the fourth ball of the New Zealand innings and Tim Seifert fell for a first ball duck two balls later.

New Zealand was 10-2 at the end of the first over, then 20-3 when Will Young fell to Shaheen in the third over.

Mitchell and Phillips had to struggle for a long time just to survive in difficult batting conditions. At the end of the power play New Zealand was 38-3 and after 10 overs it was 70-3, just behind Pakistan at the same point.

The first six of New Zealand’s innings didn’t come until the 14th over when Phillips lofted a ball from Mohammad Nawaz into the crowd.

Nawaz dropped a catching chance from Mitchell when he was 33 and the New Zealand pair made Pakistan pay dearly for that lapse. Phillips’ 50 came from 41 balls and Mitchells from 34 balls.

Again, boundaries were in short supply and the New Zealand innings continued only five sixes.

“We always knew when the ball’s harder it’s swinging and does a bit more off the top,” Mitchell said. “So it was just a matter of biding your time and trying to build a partnership through that 10 or 12 over match and keep trying to put pressure on.”

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket