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New Zealand vs Pakistan, 3rd T20I: Pakistan’s Top-Heavy Top Order Crumbles Again, Kiwis Seal Series

The picturesque shores of Dunedin witnessed a familiar script unfold as Pakistan, once again, succumbed to the Kiwi juggernaut in the 3rd T20I, losing by a comfortable margin and ceding the series. The story played out like a worn record, etched with the frustrations of a top-order feast followed by a middle-order famine.

Saim Ayub’s early departure set the tone for a wobbly start. Babar Azam, the indomitable captain, crafted another fifty, his elegance a solitary beacon in the gathering gloom. Fakhar Zaman chipped in with a cameo, but the remaining batting card yielded a scorecard best described as a graveyard. Iftikhar Ahmed and Azam Khan, two names once synonymous with power and panache, remained frustratingly mute, their struggles becoming a recurring nightmare for the Pakistani camp.

The Kiwi bowlers, in stark contrast, orchestrated a symphony of discipline. Tim Southee, the veteran seamer, extracted swing and bounce, claiming a couple of scalps. But the true maestro of the night was Mitch Santner. His economical left-arm spin, a spider silk web of containment, yielded just 26 runs and a solitary wicket, but his contribution went far beyond the mere numbers. He choked the life out of the chase, squeezing the runs and building pressure, a silent architect of the Kiwi stranglehold.

However, the undisputed hero of the match was the young firebrand, Finn Allen. He unleashed a whirlwind within the first powerplay, his bat a willow wand conjuring lightning bolts. His 16-ball 37, equalling the record for most sixes in a T20I innings, left the Pakistani quicks singed and bewildered. He ripped the heart out of the chase, rendering the remaining overs a mere formality.

New Zealand, basking in the collective effort of their bowling unit, savored the sweet taste of victory. They closed the series with a flourish, cementing their dominance and sending a resounding message to their rivals. Pakistan, on the other hand, is left to grapple with the ghosts of familiar failings. Their potent top order needs resuscitation, their middle order a spark to ignite the smoldering embers of their ambitions.

So, under the Dunedin sky, a story retold itself, albeit with a fresh veneer of drama. For New Zealand, it was a resounding vindication of their talent and depth. For Pakistan, it was a stark reminder of their vulnerabilities, a call to introspect and rebuild. As the series closes, leaving in its wake the echoes of Kiwi cheers and Pakistani sighs, one question remains: when will the script change, when will a new chapter be written in the chronicle of their chases? Only time will tell, but for now, New Zealand stand atop the podium, basking in the glow of their well-deserved triumph.

With a 3-0 Test loss to Australia and what appears to be a 5-0 T20I series against New Zealand, Pakistani cricket has entered a new era marked by a new director of cricket and new captains. Even if the faces and captains have changed, many of the same issues still exist. There is an excessive dependence on the star players, some dubious choices, and some players that don’t contribute to this club. Pakistan was easily defeated by New Zealand today, but can the visitors be able to bounce back on Friday?

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