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Pakistan beats Bangladesh by 21 runs in NZ tri-series opener

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Mohammad Rizwan posted an unbeaten 78 from 50 balls to help Pakistan to a 21-run win over Bangladesh on Friday in the Twenty20 tri-series opener in New Zealand.

The three teams are using the series to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia starting later this month.

Pakistan lost the toss and posted 167-5 after being sent in to bat, with Rizwan sharing a 52-run opening stand with skipper Babar Azam (22) and then putting on 42 for the second wicket with Shan Masood (31 from 22 deliveries) to set up Pakistan’s innings. He batted through the 20 overs and hit seven boundaries and two sixes in his 21st T20 international half century.

Mohammad Wasim snared 3-24, including the first wicket in the fifth over and two in two deliveries with perfect yorkers to start the 19th, and Mohammad Nawaz returned 2-25 as Pakistan restricted Bangladesh to 146-8 in reply.

The result was beyond doubt before Bangladesh plundered 20 runs from the last over, when allrounder Yasir Ali hit three boundaries and a six off Haris Rauf to finish unbeaten on 42 from 21 deliveries.

“We’re very happy as a team,” Babar said. “A win always gives you confidence.”

Pakistan will have to recover quickly before playing host New Zealand in a night game Saturday.

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More AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports