Babar Azam’s run-a-ball 41 took Pakistan to 105 in the first T20 international against New Zealand in Wellington on Monday, after yet another embarrassing batting collapse suffered by the tourists.
In a nightmarish start, Pakistan lost both openers Fakhar Zaman (3) and Umar Amin (0) early after being invited to bat first by the Kiwis.
Mohammad Nawaz (7) and Haris Sohail (9) were the next to go, as Pakistan were reduced to 22-4 before six overs.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was dismissed soon after for 9. Shadab Khan, out for a golden duck, followed next, leaving Pakistan at 38-6.
Faheem Ashraf was removed for 7, and Hasan Ali fell after a brave 23 off 12 balls, with Pakistan at 83-8.
Mohammad Amir went for 3, leaving Pakistan at 90-9.
Babar continued to fight on till the end, before he was caught off Colin Munro’s delivery.
New Zealand are on a high having just swept the one-day series against Pakistan and are backing themselves to continue that form as they switch to the shortest form of the game.
However, they suffered a setback hours before the match when captain Kane Williamson was withdrawn as a precautionary measure after complaining of a tight thigh.
Stand-in skipper Tim Southee said it was “not a typical” wicket at Westpac Stadium but he opted to bowl “as hopefully we will get something out of it early on.”
New Zealand are resting fast bowlers Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson for the match.
Pakistan are without Shoaib Malik who is out of the series after a delayed concussion suffered during the fourth ODI.
However, Hasan Ali who missed the final ODI with a groin strain was declared fit and named in the starting line up.
Pakistan: Umar Amin, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed, Babar Azam, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashradf, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Rumman Raees.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Tom Bruce, Ross Taylor, Anaru Kitchen, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee (capt), Ish Sodhi, Seth Rance.
Umpires: Wayne Knights (NZL), Chris Brown (NZL)
TV Umpire: Shaun Haig (NZL)
Match referee: Richie Richardson (WIS)