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RAWALPINDI: Mark Chapman hit a robust half century to help an under-strength New Zealand to a shock seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in the third Twenty20 international in Rawalpindi on Sunday.

The 29-year-old left hander smashed a 42-ball 87 to anchor New Zealand’s chase of 179-run target in 18.2 overs against the much vaunted Pakistan bowling attack, silencing a packed 16,000 holiday crowd.

Shadab Khan (41) and Babar Azam (37) were the main contributors in Pakistan’s 178-4 after the hosts were sent in to bat by New Zealand.

Pakistan trounce depleted New Zealand in second Twenty20 internationa

Tim Robinson hit 28 off 19 balls and Tim Seifert 21 off 16 to set the tone for New Zealand’s chase.

New Zealand were strongly-placed at 53-2 in the sixth over before Chapman and Dean Foxcroft (31) took over, adding a solid 117-run in a third wicket partnership to square the five-match series at 1-1.

Pakistan won the second game by seven wickets while the first match was washed out after just two balls – both were also in Rawalpindi.

Chapman, whose only T20I hundred came at the same venue last year, clobbered four sixes and nine fours in his eighth half century in the format. He was ably supported by Foxcroft.

Pakistan skipper Azam brought spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi on in the 15th over with 61 to defend, but Chapman cracked two fours. He then smashed two sixes and two more fours off Naseem Shah’s next over to bring the target down to 21 of 24 balls.

Fast bowler Abbas Afridi, 2-27, dismissed Foxcroft, but by then New Zealand were just nine away from victory. Chapman and Jimmy Neesham (six not out) reached the target with ten balls to spare.

Earlier Shadab hit two sixes and four fours while Azam hit four fours and a six.

Opener Saim Ayub scored a 22-ball 32 and Muhammad Irfan Khan chipped in with a 20-ball 30 not out as Pakistan added 54 in the last five overs.

Azam and left-hander Ayub gave Pakistan a brisk start of 55 as the duo played some aggressive shots.

Shadab and Irfan boosted the innings with a brisk 62-run stand for the fourth wicket.

For New Zealand, leg-spinner Ish Sodhi was the best bowler with 2-25.

The final two matches are in Lahore on April 25 and 27.

Both teams are preparing for June’s Twenty20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies.

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