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Azam and Zaman Propel Pakistan to 178-5 in Fifth T20I

In the fifth and final Twenty20 international between Pakistan and New Zealand in Lahore, Captain Babar Azam displayed his mettle by anchoring Pakistan’s innings with a well-constructed half-century, guiding his team to a competitive total of 178-5. Winning the toss, New Zealand opted to field first, putting Pakistan in to bat at the iconic Gaddafi Stadium.

Despite the early loss of his opening partner, Saim Ayub, for just one run in the second over, Azam remained resolute at the crease. He found a capable partner in Usman Khan, forging a crucial 73-run partnership for the second wicket. Usman’s brisk 31 off 24 balls provided valuable support to Azam’s innings, which was characterized by his trademark elegance and stroke play.

Azam, in his 34th T20I appearance, showcased his class with a composed innings of 69 runs off 44 deliveries. His innings comprised six boundaries and two towering sixes, illustrating his ability to control the game’s tempo. However, his innings was brought to an end in the 15th over when he was bowled by New Zealand pacer Ben Sears.

Fakhar Zaman, another key contributor, played an aggressive knock, scoring 43 runs off 33 balls, including four boundaries and a six. His partnership with Azam provided the impetus for Pakistan’s innings, setting the stage for a competitive total.

Shadab Khan added the finishing touches with a brief but impactful cameo, scoring 15 runs off just five deliveries, including a six and a four. His late flourish propelled Pakistan’s total to 178, ensuring a challenging target for the New Zealand side.

In response, New Zealand made three changes to their lineup, bringing back Tim Seifert, Cole McConchie, and Zak Foulkes. Meanwhile, Pakistan welcomed the return of their pace spearhead, Shaheen Shah Afridi, bolstering their bowling attack.

New Zealand had secured victories in the third and fourth matches of the series, while Pakistan claimed the second match after the first encounter was abandoned due to unforeseen circumstances. As the series reached its climax, both teams were poised for a thrilling finale, with Pakistan aiming to level the series and New Zealand seeking to clinch victory.

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