Mark Chapman went out and did what he had been threatening all series when the stakes were at their highest. The 28-year-old scored an unbeaten 104 off 57 balls, chasing down 194, in a breathtaking display of magnificently clean hitting against some of the best T20 cricket bowlers to stun Pakistan. Even though New Zealand led Pakistan by 2-0 after two games, it was the second-highest total ever scored against Pakistan in T20 matches. It also means that the series ended in a tie. It is additionally New Zealand’s 100th T20I win, one that will invest wholeheartedly in a spot in New Zealand T20 fables.
When they arrived in Pakistan from halfway around the world and only had one practice session under their belt when the series began, few would have given them hope that they could accomplish this. The fact that their team was depleted, with eight first-team players absent due to IPL duty, made the task even more difficult. Even on the day, it appeared especially unlikely that New Zealand would win when Imad Wasim struck to remove Daryl Mitchell, leaving them at 73 for 4 at the halfway point.
Chapman finished with 290 runs in a series despite only being dismissed once because Pakistan hadn’t yet taken him into account. He hit Faheem Ashraf for 14 in the 11th over to put Pakistan on notice that the game and the series were not over yet. They should have heeded the warning, but they were powerless against Chapman’s assault. Chapman destroyed every Pakistan bowler, right-arm and left-arm, as James Neesham’s unbeaten 45 off 25 was a more than adequate supporting act.
71 runs were scored in the subsequent five overs, and New Zealand won the match. Chapman kept attacking even though he was getting close to a hundred now. Shaheen Shah Afridi had some luck against him; Before Afridi dropped him off his bowling on 98, Shadab Khan dropped a straightforward catch. He was able to complete the 100 he so richly deserved by sprinting back for two.
At this point, it was a run-a-ball condition for the last two overs, and for Chapman here, it was a cakewalk. With four balls remaining, a small push into the on side sealed the deal, giving Pakistan a reality check and a bloody nose before the five-match ODI series starts later this week.
Pakistan may have started well with Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, but the bowlers, much like New Zealand has done in almost every match this series, came back strong. In the final powerplay over, Babar was the first to fall when he misjudged an on-side slog. Mohammad Haris was eager to make up for a while when he came in with two balls left on the powerplay. However, he misread Blair Tickner’s off-cutter and attempted to lap over a short fine leg from his first delivery. Before coming on, Ish Sodhi dispatched Saim Ayub with a wrong’un for another duck after taking a straightforward catch. A promising Pakistani start was ruined after the sudden loss of three wickets for one run in five balls.
It’s maybe boorish to criticize a T20 hundred, yet it’s impossible to stay away from it. Since 2021, Rizwan has been one of Pakistan’s most potent matchwinners and a run machine in Twenty20 Internationals. He started with the format-appropriate truculence, hurtling along even as Babar struggled and wickets fell at the other end, despite a relatively lean run by his standards. He started, batted through the middle of the innings, and probably should have scored a century.
T20 centurions, on the other hand, are like presidents in that you probably don’t deserve to be one. Rizwan’s century might have come naturally if Pakistan had continued to attack the death overs in the same manner as any team that maximizes its run-scoring potential. All things considered, he picked relative wariness, and the last couple of balls were completely equipped towards getting Rizwan those last couple of runs instead of giving Pakistan each additional run they could scratch.
Faheem Ashraf took just the single pitch rather than the two that were on or off the penultimate ball because Imad was run out trying to scrape a bye despite being the batter in better hitting form. Rizwan didn’t even make it to three figures, but more so because he only scored one boundary out of his last 13 balls.
Chapman, on the other hand, barely seemed to notice his score when batting on 98. Afridi had only one ball left and might have been drained for a solitary or seen off. The batter, on the other hand, attempted a high-risk jab to the on side, but the ball flew straight up. Even though Chapman scored the century and his team won, the score didn’t matter.
Oh, how we’ve been missing out. Afridi went the whole series without recording a first-over wicket, but on Monday in Rawalpindi, it seemed as though his most alluring talent had never been absent. The match started with a first-ball wicket, albeit it wasn’t exactly the inswinger that ripped through a right-handed batsman’s defense. Instead, it drifted away from left-handed batter Tom Latham, who sliced it politely to Shadab at the point. He was prepared for the one that angled away, kissed the outside edge, and carried through to Rizwan after a couple of proving inswinging deliveries to Will Young. Afridi returned after New Zealand fell behind by two runs in an over, but only to witness the Nos. 5 and 6 of New Zealand make an incredible comeback.
New Zealand won against Pakistan in a T20 match by six wickets, with Mark Chapman leading the way with an unbeaten 104 off 57 balls. This was despite the odds being against them, with their team being depleted and having only had one practice session before the series began. Although Pakistan started well with Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, the bowlers came back strong and limited their scoring. Rizwan scored 98 but picked relative wariness, and the last couple of balls were completely geared towards getting him the last couple of runs instead of giving Pakistan each additional run they could scratch. Chapman kept attacking even when he was close to a hundred and destroyed every Pakistan bowler. It is also worth noting that this win is New Zealand’s 100th T20I win, which is a significant milestone.