The efforts of Tim Southee, Tim Seifert and Kane Williamson ensured Mohammed Hafeez's unbeaten 99 was in vain as New Zealand earned a T20I series victory over Pakistan.

Hafeez played with typical class as Pakistan, who lost the first of three matches by five wickets, to steer Pakistan to 163-6 in Hamilton.

But paceman Southee (4-21) took three wickets in the powerplay as Pakistan toiled to 33-3 and never found a partner able to stick around with Hafeez.

Seifert, fresh from a fifty in the first match, then smacked the ball to all areas of the ground, scoring eight fours and three sixes in his 84, while Williamson added 57 as the Black Caps reached their target with four balls to spare and nine wickets in hand.

Southee's first spell included a stunning outswinger that had the dangerous Mohammad Rizwan (22) caught behind, with Haider Ali (8) and Abdullah Shafique (0) quickly sent packing.

Hafeez judged the pitch to perfection, taking on singles early doors, before pummelling the short balls over square leg and sending the full ones to cover.

The issue was those at the other end offered little and New Zealand's reply saw the wonderfully gifted Seifert settle at the crease after an opening in which he swung and missed at plenty.

Anything Pakistan bowled short, Seifert would pull and cut away and – after Martin Guptill (21) – was dismissed in the fourth over, he had the perfect foil in Williamson, whose own knock included eight fours and a six.

New Zealand consequently hold a 2-0 lead ahead of the third and final T20 in Napier on Tuesday.

Jacob Duffy claimed a four-wicket haul on his international debut as New Zealand triumphed in the Twenty20 series opener against Pakistan in Auckland.

With Lockie Ferguson ruled out through injury and Trent Boult absent for the first of three T20 matches between the countries, pace bowler Duffy seized his opportunity to help restrict the tourists to 153-9.

A Pakistan top order missing talismanic captain Babar Azam – ruled out due to a broken thumb – lost four wickets for 20 runs in the opening 25 deliveries of their innings at Eden Park, a terrible start having elected to bat first after winning the toss.

Duffy claimed three of them during a one-sided powerplay, including Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Hafeez for ducks, as he finished with 4-33. 

Shadab Khan was his final wicket after Pakistan's stand-in skipper had made a top score of 42 from 32 deliveries, while Faheem Ashraf contributed 31. Scott Kuggeleijn also impressed with the ball for New Zealand, finishing with 3-27.

New Zealand's reply saw Martin Guptill fall early, but fellow opener Tim Seifert led the chase with a well-placed 57 that included a solitary six, as well as six fours.

Glenn Phillips (23) and Mark Chapman – who made 34 from just 20 balls – helped the hosts stay on course for victory, though at 129-5 there was a glimmer of hope for Pakistan.

However, James Neesham and skipper Mitchell Santner – filling in for Kane Williamson – finished unbeaten on 15 and 12 respectively to see their team home with five wickets to spare in the penultimate over.

Williamson will be back to lead the Black Caps when the series continues in Hamilton on Sunday, with the third and final contest staged in Napier on December 22.

Pakistan seamer Mohammad Amir has retired from international cricket, the Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed on Thursday. 

The 28-year-old initially announced his retirement from Test cricket in July 2019, citing a desire to focus on limited-overs matches.

However, he has now called time on his international career altogether. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) did not provide a reason for Amir's decision, but the bowler said earlier on Thursday that Pakistan management had left him feeling "mentally tortured".

"I am not going away from cricket but I am being pushed away from it," he told Samaa TV.

"The environment that has been created, I feel that I cannot play cricket under this management.

"I feel that I am leaving cricket at this time because I am being mentally tortured."

A statement from the PCB read: "PCB chief executive Wasim Khan spoke with Mohammad Amir this afternoon following reports that the fast bowler had announced his retirement from international cricket. 

"The 28-year-old confirmed to the PCB chief executive that he has no desires or intentions of playing international cricket and, as such, he should not be considered for future international matches.

"This is a personal decision of Mohammad Amir, which the PCB respects, and as such, will not make any further comment on this matter at this stage."

Amir was handed a five-year ban and jailed in 2011 for his part in a spot-fixing scandal after bowling deliberate no-balls against England, returning to international action against New Zealand in January 2016.

Amir claimed 119 wickets and scored 751 runs in his Test career, taking 6-44 in his best bowling innings against West Indies in 2017.

New Zealand and Pakistan will have to do without their talismanic captains Kane Williamson and Babar Azam when the Twenty20 International series gets under way on Friday.

Black Caps skipper Williamson sits out the first of three T20s following the birth of his first child, but will be available for the remainder of the series.

Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Daryl Mitchell also miss the opener at Eden Park, so soon after New Zealand sealed a crushing Test series whitewash of West Indies this week.

Mitchell Santner captains New Zealand for the first match of the series, which Lockie Ferguson misses with a partial stress fracture in his lumbar spine, in Auckland.

A fractured thumb keeps Babar out of the series, so Shadab Khan - who has been struggling with a groin injury - steps up to lead his country.

Seamer Jacob Duffy is set to make his New Zealand debut and will be looking to give another demonstration of the Black Caps' strength in depth ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup next year.

"It's amazing how many people reach out when you sort of get the call-up," Southlander Duffy, Otago's white-ball skipper, said. "No, it's pretty exciting, especially for a small community like that.

"I've really enjoyed growing up there, playing all my cricket there, and a little bit of Hawke Cup cricket and stuff. People down there are really fizzed. I remember they were fizzed up when I first played for Otago, so this is another step-up and it's really cool."

 

MORE FIREWORKS FROM PHILLIPS AND CONWAY?

Glenn Phillips and Devon Conway unsurprisingly retain their place in the New Zealand squad after their heroics in a T20 series-clinching drubbing of the Windies.

Phillips smashed a 46-ball century - the quickest by a New Zealander in T20Is - and Conway blasted 65 not out in 72-run hammering in Mount Maunganui at the end of last month.

Their brutal 183-run stand was a world record for the third wicket in the shortest format at international level.

Phillips also took two catches and affected a run out after making 108 off just 51 balls - hitting eight sixes and 10 boundaries in a devastating knock.

The in-form 24-year-old has since made 136 opening for New Zealand A in a four-day match against their Windies counterparts, so Pakistan's bowlers will not be queueing up to bowl at him

 

PAKISTAN MUST SHOW THEY CAN COPE WITHOUT BABAR 

The absence of Babar is a massive blow for Pakistan, who sealed a T20I whitewash of Zimbabwe last month.

Babar, second in the T20I batting rankings behind England's Dawid Malan, has delivered time again for his country but the tourists will have to show they can cope without him against high-class opposition.

Pakistan fast bowler Haris Rauf knows he will have to offer more than just sheer pace to do damage against the Black Caps.

"I have a clear mindset with my pace and 140+ [kph] is my average speed. But with Waqar Younis [Pakistan bowling coach], I think he is all in for pace, [and he] keeps on empathising [with me] while making me work on my line and length.

"There are so many things I am learning from him, like bowling yorkers using the crease, and he was best at it. I understand these days [with] the kind of cricket being played, I can't be predictable with my pace. You obviously have to keep on evolving with the other stocks. Bowling with pace is okay, but bowling slower ones with different lines are the points of discussion with Waqar. I am learning in practice and applying in games."

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Pakistan have won their last two bilateral T20I series against New Zealand. they are yet to win more consecutive series against the Black Caps in this format
- New Zealand had lost four consecutive T20I matches at Eden Park before beating West Indies in November.
- Pakistan are winless in their last three bilateral series away from home, losing two and drawing one. They had won seven in a row prior to that.
- Martin Guptill has scored 463 runs in T20Is between New Zealand and Pakistan, the most by any player, including four half-centuries – his joint-most against any side in the format (England being the other).
- Mohammad Hafeez has scored 412 runs against New Zealand in T20I cricket, the most by a Pakistan player against any country.

Fakhar Zaman will miss Pakistan's tour of New Zealand as he is still suffering from a fever.

Batsman Fakhar was named in a 35-man squad for three Twenty20 Internationals and two Tests against the Black Caps.

The 30-year-old opener tested negative for coronavirus but is not deemed to be well enough to fly out of Lahore with his team-mates on Monday.

Pakistan doctor Sohail Saleem said: "Fakhar's covid test report was received on Saturday which came out negative but today he picked up fever.

"As soon as his condition was reported, he was isolated from the rest of the squad in the team hotel. We are constantly monitoring his condition and remain hopeful of his quick recovery; however he is not fit to travel with the squad and as such has been withdrawn from the touring party."

Pakistan and New Zealand start the T20 series at Eden Park on December 18.

England will head to Pakistan for the first time since 2005 after confirming a two-match Twenty20 series for next October.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced the tour on Wednesday, with the men's side primed to end a 16-year wait to play in Pakistan.

Concerns around safety have kept England away, with the Sri Lanka team bus having come under attack from gunmen in Lahore in 2009.

Pakistan toured England this year and invited them to visit early next year, but those plans fell through amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and ECB have now arranged two T20s to be played in Karachi on October 14 and 15, 2021.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: "It's a real pleasure to announce that the England men's IT20 squad will be playing in Pakistan in October 2021.

"This will be the first time since 2005 that an England team has toured Pakistan and as such it represents a significant moment for both nations.

"As was demonstrated this summer, we have a strong relationship with PCB and ECB is delighted to be able to play our part in ensuring the safe return of international cricket to this wonderful nation of passionate cricket fans.

"As always, the safety and welfare of our players and staff will be paramount. We are working closely with the PCB to ensure all the necessary plans are in place, especially concerning the anticipated levels of security around the team, the proposed travel protocols and of course the situation regarding the fast-moving and ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic.

"The two-match series will serve as ideal preparation for the England team leading into an ICC Men's T20 World Cup taking place in India during October and November 2021."

Misbah-ul-Haq has challenged Asad Shafiq to earn a recall after he was dropped for Pakistan's tour of New Zealand.

Batsman Shafiq was on Wednesday omitted from a 35-man squad to face the Black Caps after a poor Test series in England.

Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik were also omitted from a touring party for three Twenty20 Internationals and two Tests against the Black Caps in December and January.

Uncapped Paceman Amad Butt, batsmen Danish Aziz and Imran Butt were included along with Rohail Nazir as the Pakistan selectors invested in youth.

Pakistan head coach Misbah, who named Mohammad Rizwan as Babar Azam's Test vice-captain and Shadab Khan as T20 deputy, says there can still be a way back for the 34-year-old Shafiq.

He said: "There are three major omissions from the side that toured England. Asad Shafiq has been left out due to lack of form after he managed 510 runs in his last 15 innings, including a total of 67 runs in England.

"Asad is an experienced batsman and I am sure he will utilise this time to work harder on his game in the domestic first-class matches so that he, like Sarfraz Ahmed, can reclaim his form and be back in contention for the upcoming Tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe.

"Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir are not part of the white-ball matches as for this tour we have opted to invest, develop and focus on the promising and emerging players who are likely to be available to Pakistan for all formats."

The first T20 will be staged at Eden Park on December 18 and the Test series gets under way at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui on December 26.

 

Pakistan squad:

Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Zeeshan Malik, Babar Azam (captain), Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imran Butt, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Rohail Nazir, Sarfraz Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar, Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz.

Pakistan spinner Usman Qadir dazzled Zimbabwe to help his side wrap up a comprehensive clean sweep in their three-match Twenty20 series.

Zimbabwe were competitive in losing the ODI series 2-1 but have struggled in the shorter format and lost by eight wickets in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, sealing a 3-0 defeat.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, Zimbabwe struggled to 129-9 in their 20 overs, with Qadir taking a career-best 4-13 and moving to eight wickets for the series.

Pakistan had no issues in the run chase, reaching their target with 4.4 overs to spare. Debutant Abdullah Shafique top scored with 41, rewarding the decision to push him up the order made by Babar Azam on the day he was named Test captain.

After Brendan Taylor (8) had picked out Khushdil Shah at square leg off Imad Wasim in the fourth over and Craig Ervine (4) fell to Haris Rauf, Zimbabwe's hopes of building a competitive total were ended by in-form Qadir.

He accounted for captain Chamu Chibhabha, the tourists' top scorer with 31, as well as Milton Shumba (11) and Wesley Madhevere (9) before striking with his last ball to remove Elton Chigumbura, who managed just two in his final international match.

Pakistan's reply saw Fakhar Zaman fall for 21 just as it looked like he would produce the big innings he is under pressure to provide, while Haider Ali chipped in with 27.

Victory never looked in doubt, with Shafique producing a steady innings from 33 balls, while Khushdil struck 36 from just 15 deliveries in a knock that included three sixes to finish it in a hurry.

Khushdil's winning runs gave Pakistan a fifth straight victory in completed T20Is at home, equalling their record run.

Babar Azam has been named the new Pakistan Test captain.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed on Tuesday the batsman has taken over from Azhar Ali.

Babar, who is now skipper across all three formats for his country, will first captain his side in the Test series against New Zealand in December and January.

"I feel truly honoured to have been appointed Test captain and join some of the most iconic players who have captained Pakistan in the purest format of the game," he said.

"I can now say with conviction that dreams can come true only if you chase them with honesty, dedication and commitment.

"I am ready and prepared to take up the additional responsibility and the fact which gives me additional confidence that I can do the job is the experience that is available to me in the changing room in the shape of the players and support staff.

"I want to thank Azhar Ali for the way he captained the team in the last season, which was a difficult one, but I know that he will leave no stone unturned in giving his very best to the team."

PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said: "I want to thank Azhar Ali for stepping up last year by captaining the side in what was a historic first home Test series in over a decade. I believe Azhar still has a lot of cricket left in him and Pakistan cricket can continue to make the best use of his experience and knowledge as specialist top-order batsman moving forward.

"Babar Azam was identified at a very young age as a future leader and as part of his progression and development, he was appointed white-ball captain last year. With his consistent performance and leadership skills, he has demonstrated that he is ready to take on the additional responsibilities of a captain.

"As we are looking into the future, it is appropriate that we appoint him the captain now so that he continues to grow stronger with every match. I wish Babar all the best and remain optimistic that he will help Pakistan cricket make an upward movement across all formats not only through his performance but also with his positive attitude and result-oriented approach."

Babar made his Test debut against West Indies in October 2016 and has made five centuries and 15 half-centuries in just 29 matches.

He hit 82 off 55 balls at the top of the order as Pakistan sealed a six-wicket win in the Twenty20 series opener against Zimbabwe last week, following up with 51 as they claimed victory in the second match on Sunday.

Half-centuries from captain Babar Azam and Haider Ali saw Pakistan canter to a series-clinching eight-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the second T20I.

Babar called correctly and asked the tourists to bat in Rawalpindi, on a different surface to the one Pakistan prevailed upon when the teams met on Friday.

The outcome was much the same, with Zimbabwe's innings never truly gaining any momentum after Haris Rauf (3-31) removed openers Brendan Taylor and Chamu Chibhabha inside the first four overs.

Leg-spinner Usman Qadir (3-23) was the pick of the Pakistan attack and his double-strike in the 10th over, accounting for Sikandar Raza (seven) and Wesley Madhevere (24) - bowled and lbw respectively by brilliant googlies - left Chibhabha's men 66-5.

From that point it became a matter of occupying the overs, something they managed thanks in large part to Ryan Burl's anchoring and unbeaten 32, which concluded with a six over midwicket off Wahab Riaz as Zimbabwe reached 134-7.

That never looked likely to be enough to contain Pakistan, even when Fakhar Zaman drove Blessing Muzarabani to mid-on in the second over.

That brought Haider together with Babar and they proceeded to compile 100 for the second wicket in 10.3 overs.

Babar raced to 51 off 27 deliveries before departing next ball to Muzarabani (2-33), impressively backing up his match-winning 82 in the series opener.

Haider, who drove with particular panache off the back foot, saw Pakistan home with a minimum of fuss as he finished unbeaten on 66 off 43 deliveries.

The three-match series concludes in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.   

Captain Babar Azam led the way as Pakistan secured a comfortable six-wicket victory in the Twenty20 series opener against Zimbabwe.

Wesley Madhevere top-scored with 70 as Zimbabwe posted 156-6, having opted to bat first in Rawalpindi on Saturday.

However, Babar - who sits second in the International Cricket Council's T20 batting rankings - made sure the hosts had few issues in their chase, hitting 82 from 55 balls at the top of the order.

The Pakistan skipper managed nine fours and a solitary six as he put on 80 for the third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez - who made 36 - following the dismissals of Fakhar Zaman (19) and Haider Ali (7)

Blessing Muzarabani - Zimbabwe's hero as they won the third and final ODI on Wednesday following a Super Over - dismissed both well-set batsmen, but Pakistan still cruised home with seven deliveries to spare.

Haris Rauf and Wahab Riaz earlier claimed two wickets apiece as the tourists slipped to 87-4 after Brendan Taylor won the toss.

Madhevere led the rebuild thanks to a career-best knock in the format, while Elton Chigumbura - who has announced he will retire at the end of the tour - added 21 in a hurry during the closing overs.

Zimbabwe will look to stay alive in the three-match series when the teams meet again at the same venue on Sunday.

Babar Azam will get a chance to return to the top of the Twenty20 international batting rankings when Pakistan look to maintain a perfect record against Zimbabwe in the three-match series.

Pakistan captain Babar was replaced by England's Dawid Malan as officially the best batsman on the planet in the shortest format in September after he was in the runs against Australia.

Babar has spent a cumulative 774 days as number one across four stretches since January 2018 and is only eight rating points shy of Malan.

Pakistan have won all 11 T20 contests with Zimbabwe and the classy Babar will see three games against the tourists as a golden opportunity to dislodge Malan.

Yet Zimbabwe come into the first match of the series on Saturday on a high from a shock Super Over victory that prevented them from suffering a 3-0 ODI whitewash at the hands of Pakistan.

We use Opta data to preview the series in Rawalpindi.

 

- Pakistan beat Bangladesh in each of their two other T20 matches at home this year. They had suffered three defeats on the spin on their own patch before those victories.

- Zimbabwe have been beaten in nine of their past 13 T20Is in Asia. Three of their four victories came against non-Test playing nations, but they beat Afghanistan in September 2019.

- Brendan Taylor has 878 runs at international level in the shortest format and is looking to join Hamilton Masakadza as the only Zimbabwe batsman to reach the 1,000 mark.

- Sean Williams heads into this contest on the back of scoring a fourth ODI century (118 not out), at this venue in a famous win on Tuesday. He has made 58no and an unbeaten 40 in two of his past three T20 knocks versus Pakistan.

- Shaheen Afridi (23), Imad Wasim (22), Shadab Khan (21) and Haris Rauf (17) had more dot balls than any England bowlers in a drawn T20 series in August and September.

Blessing Muzarabani produced a sensational performance as Zimbabwe avoided an ODI whitewash at the hands of Pakistan with a Super Over victory in Rawalpindi. 

Pakistan already held an unassailable lead in the three-match series after the opening two fixtures, but Muzarabani ensured the tourists have something to celebrate as he starred with the ball. 

Zimbabwe set Pakistan 279 for victory, Sean Williams hitting an unbeaten 118 as Brendan Taylor (56) struck a half-century and Wesley Madhevere (33 off 31) and Sikandar Raza (45 off 36) produced efficient contributions. 

Mohammad Hasnain's 5-26 had helped restrict Zimbabwe but Muzarabani answered in kind, his five-for ensuring Pakistan finished their innings tied on 278-9. 

The key wicket came in the penultimate over, Muzarabani removing home captain Babar Azam, who scored a run-a-ball 125, by drawing an edge with the final delivery of his 10-over allocation. 

Pakistan needed 13 off the 50th over but, minus Babar, could only manage 12, with a final-ball four from Muhammad Musa forcing a Super Over in which Muzarabani proved decisive. 

He took the wickets of Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah in the space of four balls to restrict Pakistan to two runs, with Taylor and Raza securing the win with just three balls of Zimbabwe's reply.

 

 

Iftikhar Ahmed's five-wicket haul and a fine display from Babar Azam inspired Pakistan in a dominant six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe to clinch their one-day series after two matches.

Iftikhar (5-40) had not bowled at all in the first ODI – a 26-run win – and his sole prior international wicket in this format came in his 2015 debut against England.

But in the absence of rested paceman Wahab Riaz, who took four wickets in the previous match, the off-spinner was handed the ball on Sunday and took full advantage.

Debutant Muhammad Musa (2-21) also made an early contribution with the dismissal of Craig Ervine, yet it was Iftikhar who intervened each time Zimbabwe started to build momentum.

The 30-year-old took his five wickets in succession, starting with dangermen Brendan Taylor (36) and finishing with Sean Williams (75).

Musa then brought the innings to a close as Carl Mumba's departure saw Zimbabwe all out for 206 in the 46th over, teeing up a routine Pakistan chase.

Tendai Chisoro (2-49) belatedly slowed the hosts as he removed both openers, but that brought Babar to the crease and the Pakistan skipper excelled.

Babar finished unbeaten on 77 off 74 balls, a steady but effective innings that finished with a flourish as he found the long-off fence with 88 balls still remaining.

The captain propelled Pakistan to 208-4 having also earlier helped Haider Ali – another debutant – through his first 29 runs at this level.

Shaheen Afridi took five wickets as Pakistan fended off a Zimbabwe side who were almost propelled to a shock ODI victory by Brendan Taylor.

Pakistan landed a 26-run victory in the first game of a three-match ODI series, the first step for both teams on the road to the 2023 World Cup, inflicting on Zimbabwe their 500th international defeat.

The home side posted 281-8 before bowling out Zimbabwe for 255, but the visitors had been firmly in the hunt until wicketkeeper-batsman Taylor fell for a battling 112 to the penultimate ball of the 47th over. He had earlier taken three catches and played his part in a run out.

It was Shaheen who ended his stay on the way to figures of 5-49, while fellow left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz also claimed a priceless 4-41, wrapping up the win by bowling last man Blessing Muzarabani.

Babar Azam, in his first ODI as Pakistan captain, was able to celebrate a hard-fought success - a seventh in a row for the team.

Pakistan's innings was built on half-centuries from opener Imam-ul-Haq (58) and Haris Sohail (71), but wickets fell at such regular intervals that there was no defining partnership. Indeed, the opening pair of Imam and Abid Ali put on more than any other pair. 

Imad Wasim clubbed a pair of late sixes late in the innings on his way to an unbeaten 34 from 26 balls, but Zimbabwe were still in the game. 

Shaheen accounted for openers Brian Chari and Chamu Chibhabha, bowling both to leave Zimbabwe wobbling on 28-2 in reply, but Craig Ervine (41) and Taylor put on 71 for the third wicket, and it was game on when Taylor and Wesley Madhevere produced a century stand for the fifth. 

Yet losing Madhevere (55) early in the 46th over was a major blow, with Wahab disrupting the established partnership and giving Pakistan the breakthrough they craved. 

Taylor was next to go, top-edging to Wahab at mid-off, and the Zimbabwe lower order was blown away, along with the prospect of a tight finish. 

It meant a success for Pakistan in their first ODI since October 2019, and in the first such match played at Rawalpindi since 2006. 

Having lost 17 of their previous 18 ODIs in Pakistan, it was a largely predictable outcome for Zimbabwe, with the teams due back in action in the second match of this series on Sunday.

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