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Skipper Babar Azam had another failure with the bat as New Zealand took an unassailable 2-1 lead in the T20I series against Pakistan with a thrilling win against Pakistan in Lahore on April 25, Thursday. The Blackcaps held their nerve in the end, to win the match by 4 runs. The day began with Pakistan's captain, Babar Azam, winning the toss and opting to field first, a decision influenced perhaps by the evening conditions expected to favor the batters.

However, the New Zealand batters came out strong. Opener Tom Blundell and Tim Robinson provided a solid start, with Robinson particularly aggressive, scoring a brisk half-century. Despite losing Blundell early, New Zealand managed to keep up the momentum, reaching 93/1 at the end of the 10th over.

The middle overs saw Pakistan claw back into the game with some tight bowling and sharp fielding. Shadab Khan and Mohammad Amir were instrumental, picking up crucial wickets and slowing down the run rate. New Zealand's innings had moments of brilliance, but they lost wickets at regular intervals, eventually posting a competitive total of 178/7. Ish Sodhi and Michael Bracewell played handy cameos towards the end, pushing the score to a challenging



level.

Pakistan's response was marred by an early setback as Babar Azam, the team's linchpin, fell for a disappointing score. His dismissal for 5 runs off 4 balls, caught at short cover off William O’Rourke, was a significant blow and set the tone for the rest of the innings. The Pakistani top order struggled to build partnerships, with each batsman getting starts but failing to convert them into substantial scores.


Fakhar Zaman and Shadab Khan tried to stabilize the innings with their middle-order stand, but consistent pressure from the New Zealand bowlers kept the run rate in check. The New Zealand fielding was sharp, exemplified by a stunning catch to dismiss Iftikhar Ahmed, which further tilted the game in their favor.

Despite some late fireworks from Usama Mir and Mohammad Amir, Pakistan fell short by 4 runs, ending their innings at 174/8. Neesham was able to defend 18 runs off the final over with Imad Wasim almost getting his side over the line.

Babar's lack of form with the bat has been a concern for the hosts as the skipper has scored just 51 runs from the 3 matches played so far. The final match of the series will be played at the same venue on April 27. 
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