Amir grabs 2-13 in comeback international as Pakistan thrashes NZ in 2nd T20

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — Mohammad Amir got a wicket off his second ball in his first international in four years as Pakistan bowled out New Zealand for 90 runs and easily won their Twenty20 on Saturday.

Amir came out of retirement for the T20 World Cup in June and took 2-13. Fellow fast bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-13) and Naseem Shah (1-27) helped to sink depleted New Zealand for its second lowest T20 total against Pakistan.

Mohammad Rizwan led Pakistan to 92-3 in 12.1 overs with an unbeaten 45 off 34 balls.

Pakistan leads the five-match series 1-0 after two games. The first was a washout.

“It’s crucial to set the tone in the first six overs in Rawalpindi,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said. “The way Naseem, Shaheen and Amir bowled, it was outstanding. We try to play according to the conditions and execute our plans accordingly. We want to do well in all departments and work on it on a daily basis.”

Ben Lister made a spectacular two-handed diving catch off his follow through to dismiss Saim Ayub on 4 off the second ball of Pakistan's chase. Babar struck three boundaries in his 14 before New Zealand skipper Michael Bracewell got him stumped off a quicker delivery inside the batting power play.

Usman Khan, who was banned by the Emirates Cricket Board for five years for switching his allegiance to his country of birth, got a big inside edge and was bowled by Ish Sodhi for 7 at 56-3. But Rizwan and Irfan Khan, 18 not out, guided Pakistan home to win by seven wickets.

In the absence of nine frontline players at the Indian Premier League, New Zealand struggled to cope with Pakistan's experienced bowling attack.

Mark Chapman top-scored with 19 as New Zealand was all out in 18.1 overs.

Amir took the pace off off his second delivery to Tim Robinson, who got the toe end of the bat and was caught at short cover in the second over.

New Zealand slipped to 35-3 inside the power play.

Leg-spinners Abrar Ahmed and Shadab Khan finished with identical figures of 2-15 as they strangled the middle order with some sharp deliveries.

Afridi wrapped up the innings with his searing yorkers just after New Zealand passed its previous lowest T20 total of 80 against Pakistan in 2010 at Christchurch.

“We didn’t score quite enough runs,” Bracewell said. “We were a little bit slow to adapt to the surface and put ourselves under pressure in the end. We got a game tomorrow and we need to learn quickly. We pride ourselves in fighting right till the end (and) we did that with the ball and in the field.”

Rawalpindi will host the third game on Sunday, and the series moves to Lahore for the remaining games on April 25 and 27.


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