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Babar Azam (L) and Haris Rauf© AFP

Pakistan started their T20I series against New Zealand with a comprehensive victory thanks to a brilliant bowling performance by Haris Rauf in Lahore on Friday. The win was also extremely special for skipper Babar Azam as he equalled MS Dhoni’s record of 41 victories as captain in T20I cricket. It was the 100th T20I match for Babar and 67th as captain of the Pakistan cricket team. Overall, Babar is joint second the list of skippers with most wins in the shortest format of the sport behind  former England captain Eoin Morgan and ex-Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai. Both of them led their respective national teams to 42 victories and Babar is just one win away from the world record.

Pakistan celebrated skipper Babar Azam’s 100th international match in the shortest format with a clinical 88-run win in the first T20 against New Zealand in Lahore on Friday.

Azam failed with just nine runs but Fakhar Zaman and Saim Ayub scored 47 runs each and put on a 79-run partnership for the third wicket to anchor Pakistan to 182 all out in 19.5 overs.

Fast bowler Haris Rauf, one of five players who returned after being rested in Pakistan’s last series against Afghanistan, took career best figures of 4-18 as New Zealand were 94 all out in 15.3 overs.

Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim finished with 2-2 in his only over — taking both his wickets off successive deliveries.

Mark Chapman top-scored with 27-ball 34 inclusive of four boundaries and a six while skipper Tom Latham made 24-ball 20.

Rauf’s previous best T20 figures of 4-22 had also come against New Zealand in Sharjah in 2021.

(With AFP inputs)

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