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Adam Milne spearheads New Zealand's 2-0 series lead

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Last updated on 14 Jan 2024 | 12:54 PM
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Adam Milne spearheads New Zealand's 2-0 series lead

Victory came at a cost for the Black Caps, whose captain Kane Williamson retired hurt with a hamstring injury while batting, placing him in doubt for the remainder of the five-match series

Pace bowler Adam Milne claimed four wickets as New Zealand beat Pakistan by 21 runs in the second Twenty20 international on Sunday to take a 2-0 series lead. The tourists threw away a strong position in their run chase after Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman scored half-centuries as they were dismissed for 173 in the final over, in response to New Zealand's 194-8.

Victory came at a cost for the Black Caps, whose captain Kane Williamson retired hurt with a hamstring injury while batting, placing him in doubt for the remainder of the five-match series. The match bore similarities to New Zealand's 46-run win in the opening match in Auckland on Friday, with another aggressive batting approach led from the top by Finn Allen.

His 70 off 41 balls continued a run of form which the hard-hitting opener attributed to a change of approach. "I've been working hard on assessing conditions and choosing when to pull the trigger. I'm always looking to score boundaries and be positive but it's situational. It's when to take a higher-risk option or a lower risk," Allen said.

The target looked within sight for Pakistan before Fakhar was bowled by Milne for a power-packed 50 off 25 balls in the 10th over, leaving Pakistan 97-3. They struggled from that point, with only Babar looking a threat until he was caught off Ben Sears for 66. Milne finished with 4-33, having earlier removed the dangerous Mohammad Rizwan as Pakistan lost both openers with just 10 runs on the board.

New Zealand were again asked to bat first and Allen immediately took on the visitors' attack, blasting five sixes and seven fours. Pakistan captain Shaheen Shah Afridi said he and the rest of his attack didn't bowl well enough to capitalise on winning the toss.

"With fast bowling, you go for swing and you know you need a wicket early on. Unfortunately, we missed that. If we take those one or two wickets, their score would be 170-180. But the start wasn't very good, not the way we want."

The Black Caps were well placed at 111 for one at the midway point but suffered a major setback soon afterwards when Williamson was forced to retire hurt for 26. There will be concern it is a continuation of the spate of injuries the veteran skipper has suffered in the last year.

A long-standing knee problem ruled the 33-year-old out of both white-ball series at home to Bangladesh in December. New Zealand's middle and lower order struggled, with pace bowler Haris Rauf particularly adept over the closing overs, finishing with 3-38.

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