Haris Rauf (R) celebrates after taking the wicket of Tom Latham (L) during the third T20 match between at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on Monday night. AFP
All-rounder James Neesham held his nerve in the final over to give New Zealand a dramatic four-run win over Pakistan in the third T20 international in Lahore on Monday despite Iftikhar Ahmed’s brilliant innings.
Ahmed brought Pakistan back into the contest from 88-7 with a whirlwind 24-ball 60 as they attempted to chase down New Zealand’s 163-5.
Needing 15 to win from Neesham’s final over, he hit a six and a four to reduce the target to five off the last three deliveries.
But Neesham had Ahmed caught at long-on by Daryl Mitchell and then after a dot ball dismissed last man Haris Rauf in the same manner.
Haris Rauf (right) celebrates after taking the wicket of Tom Latham (left) during the third T20 match. AFP
Ahmed led the fightback with Faheem Ashraf as the pair added 61 for the eighth wicket, with Ashraf holing out after a 14-ball 27 studded with two sixes and as many fours.
Ahmed smashed six sixes and three fours.
The victory means New Zealand trail the five-match series 2-1 after Pakistan won the first two games, by 88 and 38 runs, also in Lahore.
The last two matches are in Rawalpindi on April 20 and 24.
Latham, who hit seven boundaries and two sixes, added 65 for the third wicket with Daryl Mitchell who scored a 26-ball 33 with a six and two boundaries.
Shadab Khan (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Will Young (not pictured). AFP
Mark Chapman made 16 not out off nine balls as New Zealand managed 51 in the last five overs.
Lanky paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi — playing his 50th T20I — took 2-33 while his fellow pacer Haris Rauf finished with 2-31.
Pakistan won the first match by 88 and the second by 38 runs, also in Lahore.
Chad Bowes is clean bowled by Shaheen Shah Afridi (not pictured) during the third T20 match in Lahore. AFP
New Zealand brought back fast bowler Adam Milne and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who replaced Cole McConchie and Henry Shipley.
Pakistan, who lead the five-match series 2-0, left out fast bowler Zaman Khan to bring in Naseem Shah, in a like-for-like change.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan, Saim Ayub, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah
New Zealand: Tom Latham (captain), Chad Bowes, Mark Chapman, Matt Henry, Ben Lister, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Rachin Ravindra, Will Young
Umpires: Ahsan Raza (PAK) and Faisal Afridi (PAK)
TV umpire: Aleem Dar (PAK)
Match referee: Ali Naqvi (PAK)