In a major boost to the Pakistan cricket team ahead of the T20 World Cup, the Babar Azam-led squad won the tri-series, beating New Zealand by five wickets on Friday.

Deciding to bowl first after winning the toss, the Pakistani bowlers restricted the Kiwis to 163-7 despite skipper Kane Williamson’s 59.

Chasing the 164-run target, Pakistan lost Babar early but the under fire middle order played an important role in the victory.

Mohammad Nawaz was declared Player of the Match for his all-around performance. He scored 38 runs off 22 balls and grabbed one wicket.

“I just backed myself in both days. Tried to display what I’d practised in the nets with a clear mind. Batting in the middle order has helped a lot, backing myself and going with the plan was key.”

When asked about the 15th over of the innings in which Pakistan turned the tide in its favour by scoring 25 runs, Nawaz said Haider Ali helped with a couple of boundaries in the previous over. “We used the wind and got the boundaries against him.”

Speaking after the match, the Pakistani skipper appreciated his middle-order batters for stepping up and perform.

“The way our team played deserves all the credit. The bowlers were brilliant at the death. The way the middle order played was outstanding. Haider and Nawaz are outstanding, so we need to step up and perform.”

Going to Australia for the mega tournament, Babar said, “we have good confidence”.

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