Bowling first after winning the toss in the day game, Pakistan conceded 401/6 in their 50 overs as young Rachin Ravindra (108 off 94) scored his third hundred of the World Cup. Skipper Kane Williamson also contributed a wonderful 95 off 79 on comeback from injury. Courtesy of the duo, the Kiwis ended up posting 401/6. However, Pakistan raced away to 201/1 in 25.3 overs after which no further play was possible. The chasing side were declared victors on DLS method.
With the fourth win of the World Cup, Pakistan stayed alive in the hunt for a place in the semi-final. Both Pakistan and New Zealand, who have now lost four matches in a row, are on eight points each. While the Kiwis are fourth owing to a better net run rate, Pakistan have moved into the top five.
Batting first, New Zealand’s openers added 68 runs in under 11 overs before Devon Conway (35 off 39) edged a pull off Hasan Ali to the keeper, giving the bowler his 100th ODI scalp. Ravindra and skipper Williamson, however, featured in a brilliant 180-run stand for the second wicket. The latter hit 10 fours and two sixes in his fluent knock before holing out off Iftikhar Ahmed’s bowling.
Ravindra perished after crossing his hundred, pulling Mohammad Wasim Jr to deep square leg. The southpaw’s fine knock featured 15 fours and one six. Daryl Mitchell (29 off 18), Mark Chapman (39 off 27), Glenn Phillips (41 off 25) and Mitchell Santner (26 not out off 17) all chipped in with handy contributions to push New Zealand past 400.
Pakistan lost Abdullah Shafique for 4 in the chase as he was brilliantly caught by a diving Williamson off Tim Southee’s bowling. However, Fakhar was in sensational form, smashing eight fours and as many as 11 sixes in his hundred. Skipper Babar Azam also chipped in with an unbeaten 66 off 63 balls, hitting six fours and two sixes. The duo featured in an unbroken 194-run stand for the second wicket to stun the Kiwis. The match was headed for a close finish. However, rain played spoilsport and aided Pakistan’s cause.
--By A Cricket Correspondent