Match abandoned New Zealand 164 for 5 (Chapman 71*, Bowes 54) vs Pakistan
It was quite the intervention, too. Moments after Haris Rauf deceived Rachin Ravindra in the flight in the penultimate over to send him on his way, light drizzle began to condense on the Rawalpindi grass. The next batter would never be able to get in though, with the rain intensifying almost instantly. As the players scurried off the ground, spectators rushed for cover and groundstaff hurried onto the pitch, hailstones the size of ping-pong balls were peppering Rawalpindi, the groundstaff taking protection underneath the very covers they had hastened to bring out. With the ground bedecked in white, it was almost instantly obvious no further play would be possible.
That means, somewhat remarkably, that this depleted New Zealand side stretch this five-match T20I series to the final game on Monday, where a victory would level the series. That did not appear likely when the visitors suffered two thumping defeats to start off the series, but the Pindi crowd is guaranteed a live decider when the teams reconvene on the other side of the Eid break.
Pakistan had opted to field first on a surface that, in New Zealand captain Tom Latham’s words “looked a belter”, at a venue that saw stratospherically high scores in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League. But Latham’s side found themselves on the backfoot early on when Imad Wasim rocked them with three quick wickets. Latham miscued one to the boundary to be the first to fall before Will Young and Daryl Mitchell were both deceived by the pace and flight, and cleaned up soon before Imad was done with his spell. He’d bowl out straightaway, his four overs leaking just 19 runs and placing Pakistan firmly on top.
That began to change when Chad Bowes hit his stride, taking on the dominant role in a fourth-wicket stand with Chapman that began to shift momentum back. Shadab came in for particular punishment in his third over, and a six off him brought up a 32-ball 50 for the opener before Shaheen Afridi returned to break through.
But Chapman, the best batter for the visitors this series, had begun to crank through the gears, and was purring now. Successive boundaries off Haris Rauf helped him hit his stride before he took Zaman Khan to the cleaners, plundering 18 off his over. He’d brought up a half-century by now, and sparing no Pakistan bowler. Shaheen was carved through the offside for four, before Rauf was pummelled over deep midwicket just before the rains hit.
It would all be forgotten as nature had its say, but Chapman’s form remains relevant to New Zealand’s chances of snatching an unlikely series draw.