Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam inspire Pakistan to crucial DLS win

Sports Saturday 04/November/2023 19:08 PM
By: iCC
Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam inspire Pakistan to crucial DLS win

Bengaluru: Pakistan beat New Zealand on DLS in a high-scoring rain-effected match in Bengaluru at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 to hand their semi-final qualification chances a huge boost.

Rachin Ravindra’s century inspired New Zealand to a huge first-innings total of 401/6. But a sensational partnership between Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam boosted Pakistan to 200/1 after 25.3 overs, well ahead of the required rate when the rain ended the match early.

Fakhar was the star of the show in the opening 20 overs of the innings, slamming nine sixes en route to a century off just 63 balls.

And with Babar content to play second fiddle at the other end, Pakistan’s hope grew by the over in Bengaluru. And as rain began to fall in the 22nd over, Pakistan were remarkably ahead on DLS.

A lengthy delay for rain and then a wet outfield saw the overs reduced to 41, with Pakistan's target changed to 342 as a result. And the second-wicket pair picked up where they left off after the relay, rattling along in search of their reduced target.

Pakistan were 21 runs ahead on DLS when the rain returned and became too heavy to continue, and the win moves Babar Azam’s side up to eight points, level with New Zealand and right back into the qualification mix.

A brief spell of drizzle had impeded the start of the second innings but the teams eventually got on with the game after New Zealand had laid the foundation for a huge total courtesy of Ravindra's third century in eight innings at the tournament.

The young star, moved up to open as Kane Williamson returned, was brilliant once again, hitting 108 from 94 runs and adding 180 for the second wicket alongside Williamson.

Barring Mohammad Wasim, who finished with 3/60, all other Pakistan bowlers found the going tough in Bengaluru.

A brilliant catch from Kane Williamson removed Abdullah Shafique (4) in the second over to hurt Pakistan’s chances of chasing down such a mammoth score.

But New Zealand were put to the sword from thereon, with Fakhar Zaman lighting up the evening with a breathtaking display of hitting.

The opener built a steady partnership through the first powerplay and brought up his half-century in the 14th over.

And it was from that point on, with the prospect of rain on the horizon, that Fakhar went big.

It took him just 14 deliveries to go from 50 to 100, racing through the gears in spectacular fashion and putting Pakistan ahead of the DLS target score before the first rain delay came.

Both Fakhar and Babar accelerated when play resumed, with the Pakistan captain hitting two maximums of his own.

The skipper was on 66 from 63 balls and Fakhar on 126 from 81 when the rain returned for good, with Pakistan 200/1 and potentially on course for the second-highest run chase ever seen in the format.

An abandonment denied New Zealand the chance to get back into the game with the ball, but Pakistan’s batting brilliance earned them the win on DLS Method, blowing the qualification scenario wide open in the process.

Earlier, New Zealand's top order had put on a real show in Bengaluru.

Ravindra went on to make 108 from 94 balls, while captain Kane Williamson (95) also helped put Pakistan on the ropes with a stirring knock after overcoming a thumb injury to return to the side.

Heavy-hitters Daryl Mitchell (29) and Mark Chapman (39) then joined forces to lift the scoring rate even more as New Zealand passed 300 for the loss of only three wickets and with more than 10 overs to spare.

The final push was provided by Glenn Phillips (41) and Mitchell Santner (26*), who ensured that the solid foundation met its late flourish.

Rising star Ravindra initially combined with fellow opener Devon Conway to compile 66/0 at the end of the Powerplay in the high-stakes clash at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

Hasan Ali picked up his 100th ODI wicket in the next over, having Conway (35) caught behind by Mohammad Rizwan as the fast bowler made an impact after being called back into the Pakistan XI.

Williamson soon picked up the pace alongside Ravindra to guide the total past 150 without further loss at the halfway mark of the innings.

The New Zealand stalwart reached 95 from 79 balls until caught on the boundary barely centimetres from a six that would have brought up his ton.

Playing XIs
New Zealand: Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, Kane Williamson (c), Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim.