Dubai (Agencies): Pakistan swept New Zealand 3-0 in the Twenty20 series with a 47-run win in the third and final cricket match on Sunday as Babar Azam became the fastest player to reach 1,000 runs in the T20 format.
Azam smashed 79 off 58 balls and Mohammad Hafeez made an unbeaten 53 in 34 deliveries as Pakistan reached 166-3 after captain Sarfraz Ahmed chose to bat.
When the 24-year-old Azam reached 48, the Pakistan opener became the quickest player to reach the 1,000-run milestone in his 26th T20 match.
The previous record was held by Indian captain Virat Kohli, who achieved the feat in 2015 in 27 T20s.
“I knew I had broken Kohli’s record,” said Azam, who hit seven fours and two sixes.
In reply, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson made a robust 60 in 38 before the tourists crumbled against Pakistan’s spinners and were bowled out for 119 in 16.5 overs.
“A brilliant team effort from us,” Ahmed said after leading Pakistan to its 11th successive T20 series victory that also included a 3-0 win against Australia last month. “We needed 160-plus, and our batsmen did it with Babar Azam and Hafeez playing magnificent innings.
“Throughout the series we’ve taken wickets with the new ball, and we’ve done well with the bat too.”
Legspinner Shadab Khan grabbed 3-30 and ignited the collapse by removing Williamson and Glenn Phillips (26) in one over as New Zealand lost its last eight wickets for just 23 runs.
Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim (2-28) claimed the wickets of Mark Chapman and Tim Seifert in successive deliveries before debutant fast bowler Waqas Maqsood (2-21) ended New Zealand’s chase by taking the last two wickets.
“At the halfway stage, on that surface, that was a very good total from Pakistan,” Williamson said. “They’ve very good bowling attack, and we’ll try to keep learning from them in these conditions.”
Azam and Hafeez propelled Pakistan to its highest total of the series with a clinical 94-run second wicket stand off 64 balls.
Hafeez was ruthless against Ish Sodhi (0-22 in two overs), smashing the legspinner for two straight successive sixes, and he also hit four boundaries in his unbeaten half century.
Azam kept the scoreboard ticking with his wristy strokeplay before holing out in the deep in the 17th over.
Shoaib Malik then played a minor cameo of 19 off 9 balls and guided Pakistan to a challenging total.
Faheem Ashraf (1-6) knocked back the middle stump of Colin Munro in his first over and Colin de Grandhomme was smartly run out by Usman Khan before Williamson brought New Zealand back into the game.
But once Shadab Khan had Williamson caught at long off, and clean bowled Phillips, New Zealand’s batting folded.
The teams now face off in three ODIs with the first match at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.