Mohammad Rizwan plays a shot as Bangladesh's wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan looks on during the first match between Pakistan and Bangladesh in the Twenty20 tri-series at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Friday. AFP
Mohammad Rizwan underlined why he will be a key weapon for Pakistan at the Twenty20 World Cup, top-scoring in a 21-run win over Bangladesh in Christchurch on Friday.
Rizwan maintained his rich vein of form with an unbeaten 78 as Pakistan posted 167-5, before restricting their opponents to 146-8.
It was the opening match of a week-long tournament, which also includes hosts New Zealand. All three teams are using it to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia.
The world's top-ranked T20 batsman, Rizwan batted through the innings in cold conditions at Hagley Oval, tallying seven fours and two sixes in a chanceless 50-ball knock.
It was the 30-year-old's 21st half-century in the format, continuing his form from last month's T20 series against England, when he compiled a series-leading 316 runs.
His average in the format of 54.34 stands alone among the top 150 run-scorers. The next best is India's Virat Kohli (50.84).
Rizwan's best support on a tricky, two-paced wicket came from Shan Masood (31 off 22 balls), following an opening stand of 52 with captain Babar Azam (22 off 25) while Taskin Ahmed (2-25) was Bangladesh's best bowler.
Rizwan said being patient after being sent in laid the foundation for a winning score.
"Early on the ball was a little bit grippy but me and the skipper decided to keep things simple," he said.
"We did very well but I thought we were 10 to 15 runs short on this kind of pitch.
"After that, the bowlers bowled very well to the plan."
Bangladesh's chase tailed off after Liton Das (35) and Afif Hossain (25) put on a slick 50 for the third wicket from 34 balls.
Some late hitting from Yasir Ali (42 not out) restored respectability while speedster Mohammad Wasim (3-24) enjoyed late success with the yorker.
Players from both teams regularly slipped on a surface made hard by unexpected weather conditions earlier in the week.
A cold blast left ground staff sweeping snow from the covers and outfield on Thursday morning.
Temperatures hovered around a relatively warm 12 degrees Celsius (54F) throughout the match, the earliest ever staged in a New Zealand home season.
New Zealand will play Pakistan on Saturday and Bangladesh on Sunday, both at the same venue.
Allen made 62 including a half century from 32 balls and Conway followed his match-winning 70 against Bangladesh on the weekend with an unbeaten 49 on Tuesday as New Zealand easily surpassed Pakistan’s 130-7.
Next year's Women's Cricket World Cup final will be played at Christchurch's Hagley Oval, it was announced on Thursday, underscoring the growth of the game over the past two decades.
Pakistan are seeking to hold on to the top world ranking and also prove again the country is capable of hosting international cricket when they take on Bangladesh in a Twenty20 series starting on Friday.
Babar scored a 44-ball 66 not out for his 13th half-century and Hafeez made an undefeated 49-ball 67 to guide Pakistan to a modest 137-run target in 16.4 overs at Gaddafi stadium, taking an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
In a remarkable display of skill and determination, Faisal completed the fastest dive using an underwater wheelchair, clocking an astonishing time of 37 minutes and securing yet another spot in the sporting records.
"Test cricket throws different kinds of challenges, different kinds of pressures," Rohit told reporters. "But the way they have dealt with the pressures throughout the series has been superb."
Babar smashed 111 not out off 63 balls with 14 fours and two sixes and anchored Peshawar to 201-5. Yaqoob left Islamabad shell-shocked after taking four wickets in the penultimate over that included the key wicket of Munro.