Pakistan demolish the Kiwis to level the ODI series
On the day PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, re-confirmed Sarfraz Ahmed to be leading the team in the 2019 World Cup, Pakistan put up an impressive show at Abu Dhabi to level the series against New Zealand.
New Zealand, who chose to bat
Pakistan won by 6 wickets
New Zealand 209/9 (49.6 Ov)
Pakistan 212/4 (40.3 Ov)
After restricting the opponents to 209-9 in 50 overs, led by Fakhar Zaman in top gear, the target was reached with 9.3 overs to spare. A head injury to Imam-ul-Haq was the only sore point on the day Pakistan completely outplayed New Zealand, to record its first ODI win against the same opponents since December 2014.
Pakistan openers – Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq – chasing 210 were happy to see off the two white balls and gave the side a sound start, reaching 45-0 (10 overs), as both Trent Boult and Tim Southee, were both given 5 over spells. The 50 came up in 11.2 overs however Imam took a blow on his grille whilst shaping to hook Lockie Ferguson and required medical attention. Having scored 16 off 34 balls, he came off the field and after scans has been advised to take it easy for the next 72 hours, making him unavailable for selection for the deciding game on Sunday.
Fakhar was joined by Babar Azam and with both batsman timing the ball so sweetly, Pakistan’s 100 came in exactly 20 overs and New Zealand’s chances to win were fast disappearing. At the half way stage -25overs - the score had sped to 133-0 and the asking rate just above 3 runs an over. Fakhar, whilst nearing his best form, was severe on anything short and suddenly changed into T20 mode. Both batsmen, with no pressure of chasing middling total, played effortless strokes for the Abu Dhabi wicket had become a touch easier to bat on whereas New Zealand batsmen had failed to find a momentum at any stage of its 50 over innings. 150 arrived in 27.3 overs as Trent Boult, was hit for 24 runs in his 2 overs. Even the dismissal of Fakhar, top-edging a pull, after his run-a-ball 88 with 11 fours and Babar’s upper cut held at third man, following his 46 off 50 balls with 5 fours, in the same Ferguson over, failed to change anything. The wickets had come far too late for the Kiwis.
Pakistan went into a must-win day-night match at Abu Dhabi vary of Trent Boult, the left-arm Kiwi ace, whose hat-trick triggered a top order collapse and led to a 47-run defeat in the opening match. Secondly by bringing Mohammad Hafeez’s action to the attention of all, by mimicking a bent elbow, the New Zealand batsman, Ross Taylor top scorer with 81 on the day, added spice to the second match.
Added to the playing XI, Faheem Ashraf took the new ball after replacing Junaid Khan, who will be sitting out the rest of the ODI series with a toe injury. Colin Munro, we know has only one gear in all formats of the game. After clearing the long-on boundary, he held out to mid-off of the very next ball of Shaheen Afridi. Shortly afterwards Kane Williamson was run out, a touch casual whilst on the non-striker’s end. At the end of the 10th over, New Zealand had progressed to 55-2 when Hafeez came on to bowl to Taylor. It was quite laborious to see the Black Caps reaching 73-3 after 15 overs - a wicket maiden from Afridi put Pakistan in control and showed his ability to beat international batsmen with pace, as a superb yorker sent back Latham.
At the end of 20 overs, New Zealand were 82 for 4 and finding it extremely hard to score freely against the slow bowlers. Taylor, once again very patient, had his sights on playing to the end and was happy to see through this passage. He was playing the type of innings both Javed Miandad and Misbah-ul-Haq, did so successfully in the past for Pakistan, by leaving the fireworks till the very end. The sluggish nature of the pitch had convinced Taylor, not to take any undue risks in the middle phase of New Zealand innings but sadly today he missed out an opportunity for he did not keep enough strike - a mere 22 balls in the last 10 overs. An unbeaten 86 off 120 balls with 3 fours and a six over long-on off Hasan Ali in the last over, took his ODI tally against Pakistan to 1068 runs @ 66.75, but not much use to his side.
Asked to make first use of the Abu Dhabi wicket, Pakistan bowlers did not show if they were under too much pressure in this must-win match. The spin trio of Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim displayed so much control for there was just one boundary hit in their collective 25 overs. Afridi, winner of the Man of the Match award, bowled aggressively, in all of his three spells and was rewarded with 4 for 38. Though Hasan Ali was expensive t he got his side the vital breakthrough by clean bowling Henry Nicholls (33) in the 38th over to break the 75-run 5th wicket stand. There was no late order flourish for the Kiwis to frustrate Pakistan this time round.
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