Rizwan, Zaman earn series parity for Pakistan

Aggressive half-century knocks from Fakhar Zaman (78 off 40) and Mohammad Rizwan (75* off 46) and a blistering cameo at the end from Azam Khan (30* off 10) helped Pakistan level the three match T20I series in Dublin with a comprehensive seven-wicket win over the hosts. Put in to bat first, Ireland showed intent as they posted a mammoth 193/7 from their 20 overs. Only Locran Tucker got a fifty but valuable contributions came from all through the batting order to make that total possible. With the series on line, Pakistan were two down early in the tall chase but the 140-run stand between the two half-centurions put the visitors on the victory path.

After a quick start, Ireland lost both their openers to Shaheen Afridi in the same over, to slip to 34/2. However, Tucker joined hands with Harry Tector (32 off 29) to resurrect the innings with their 62-run partnership for the third wicket. Tucker’s 51 came in 34 balls, laced with a couple of maximums and five boundary hits as he hung around after Tector’s wicket to keep stitching meaningful stands with the middle order.

Curtis Camher played a vital hand of 22 off just 13 before offering a return catch to Mohammad Amir, while George Dockrell hit three boundaries in his 8-ball 15. Delany hit as many, and two more sixes to make it a 10-ball cameo of 28 that helped the hosts finish strong.

Pakistan themselves were in a spot of bother early in their chase of 194 when new-ball pair Mark Adair and Graham Hume struck in their respective first overs. From a precarious 13/2, Rizwan and Zaman took over.

Rizwan was the aggressor early on, and even got a reprieve on 30 on the last ball of the powerplay, dropped by Hume, who shelled another chance in the following over, off Zaman this time. The duo made Ireland pay as they took Pakistan past the 100-run mark in the 11th over and then resumed the counterattack.

Rizwan got to his half-century first, off 34 balls, with a six in the 12th over and Zaman followed suit in a 21-run over off Craig Young, taking 31 balls to the milestone. He took on Benjamin White next with a four and a six but the bowler ultimately had the last laugh. The stubborn partnership was broken but Pakistan were well on course. Azam Khan, however, took matters in his own hand from there on and smacked three sixes in Mark Adair’s final over to wrap up the chase with 19 balls to spare.

Brief scores: Ireland 193/7 in 20 overs (Lorcan Tucker 51, Harry Tector 32; Shaheen Afridi 3-49, Abbas Afridi 2-33) lost to Pakistan 195/3 in 16.5 overs (Fakhar Zaman 78, Mohammad Rizwan 75*) by 7 wickets.

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