Mohammad Rizwan plays a shot as Bangladesh's wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan looks on during the first match between Pakistan and Bangladesh in the Twenty20 tri-series at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Friday. AFP
Mohammad Rizwan underlined why he will be a key weapon for Pakistan at the Twenty20 World Cup, top-scoring in a 21-run win over Bangladesh in Christchurch on Friday.
Rizwan maintained his rich vein of form with an unbeaten 78 as Pakistan posted 167-5, before restricting their opponents to 146-8.
It was the opening match of a week-long tournament, which also includes hosts New Zealand. All three teams are using it to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia.
The world's top-ranked T20 batsman, Rizwan batted through the innings in cold conditions at Hagley Oval, tallying seven fours and two sixes in a chanceless 50-ball knock.
It was the 30-year-old's 21st half-century in the format, continuing his form from last month's T20 series against England, when he compiled a series-leading 316 runs.
His average in the format of 54.34 stands alone among the top 150 run-scorers. The next best is India's Virat Kohli (50.84).
Rizwan's best support on a tricky, two-paced wicket came from Shan Masood (31 off 22 balls), following an opening stand of 52 with captain Babar Azam (22 off 25) while Taskin Ahmed (2-25) was Bangladesh's best bowler.
Rizwan said being patient after being sent in laid the foundation for a winning score.
"Early on the ball was a little bit grippy but me and the skipper decided to keep things simple," he said.
"We did very well but I thought we were 10 to 15 runs short on this kind of pitch.
"After that, the bowlers bowled very well to the plan."
Bangladesh's chase tailed off after Liton Das (35) and Afif Hossain (25) put on a slick 50 for the third wicket from 34 balls.
Some late hitting from Yasir Ali (42 not out) restored respectability while speedster Mohammad Wasim (3-24) enjoyed late success with the yorker.
Players from both teams regularly slipped on a surface made hard by unexpected weather conditions earlier in the week.
A cold blast left ground staff sweeping snow from the covers and outfield on Thursday morning.
Temperatures hovered around a relatively warm 12 degrees Celsius (54F) throughout the match, the earliest ever staged in a New Zealand home season.
New Zealand will play Pakistan on Saturday and Bangladesh on Sunday, both at the same venue.
Allen made 62 including a half century from 32 balls and Conway followed his match-winning 70 against Bangladesh on the weekend with an unbeaten 49 on Tuesday as New Zealand easily surpassed Pakistan’s 130-7.
It was a superb display by the underdog Black Caps, who came into the match on the back of three straight defeats by Pakistan, Australia and England and only qualified for the semi-finals on net run-rate, while India topped the 10-team group stage.
Steve Smith hit an attractive unbeaten 89 but David Warner was out for a duck as Australia made 277 for six against a New Zealand XI in a World Cup warm-up on Wednesday.
Australia: Will Young stroked a masterful 130 to steer an under-strength New Zealand to a seven-wicket win over Australia in a World Cup practice match on Wednesday, outshining a classy unbeaten 89 from Steve Smith. The visitors chased down their 278 target with 10 balls to spare, inflicting the first one-day defeat
Messi's 789th goal in his 1,000th career appearance — but first in the knockout rounds of the World Cup -- helped set up a last-eight clash with the unbeaten Netherlands on Friday.
The qualifying round matches will start at 10am on Sunday, while the main round matches will start from Monday. The final will be played on Saturday evening (December 11).
The Netherlands, bidding to win their first World Cup after losing in three previous finals, will face Argentina or Australia in the last eight.