For all of ten glorious overs – and it was glorious, no matter who one supported – it seemed like Kane Williamson would single-handedly snap Pakistan's T20I winning streak. With Colin Munro and Colin de Grandhomme dismissed early in a chase of 167, and the Powerplay almost over, this looked like a stroll for Pakistan.
It ended up being every bit the stroll it appeared at that point, with Pakistan winning by 47 runs, but Williamson gave them an almighty scare in the middle. He smashed – caressed, really – 60 runs off 38 balls in a manner so classical you'd feel blessed to see it in a Test match.
It wrested the advantage back in New Zealand's favour, but once he holed out to long-on off Shadab Khan, the tourists went back to being the side they had looked before their captain had sprinkled his class over the contest. They lost their last eight wickets for 23 runs, and Pakistan had yet another well-deserved clean sweep to their name.
This was not to be the close contest the first two games had been, even though New Zealand made an excellent start. Seth Rance found the sort of prodigious swing no bowler had managed all season, and Fakhar Zaman was particularly discomfited. Pakistan manged just 33 runs in the first six, with Zaman dismissed following an ugly hoick to the offside, ensuring the left-hander's poor run in Asia continued.
It was Babar Azam, inevitably, who got his side back on course. Needing 48 runs to overtake Virat Kohli to become the fastest to 1000 T20I runs, he began to take control of the overs immediately following the Powerplay, picking up the run rate alongside the in-form Mohammad Hafeez.
Hafeez was the man they had to thank for that flourish, with the 38-year old seamlessly taking over once Babar was dismissed for 79. That is usually the point at which Pakistan innings have stuttered of late, but four boundaries in the following seven balls that New Zealand bowled to Hafeez and Shoaib Malik went for four.
The momentum thus remained unequivocally with Pakistan, who carried it right throughout the innings.
They held onto it at the change of innings, and struck New Zealand a hammer blow with the wicket of Colin Munro in the second over. With Glenn Phillips still struggling, and Colin de Grandhomme carelessly run out Williamson took up the responsibility. Once he was dismissed, Pakistan immediately reverted to being the side that beats the opposition into the ground, and they did that with devastating efficiency.
Pakistan 166 for 3 (Babar 79, Hafeez 53*) beat New Zealand 119 (Williamson 60, Shadab 3-30, Maqsood 2-21, Imad 2-28) by 47 runs