Bengaluru, Nov 4: Rain, luck and some gutsy fight by opener Fakhar Zaman and skipper Babar Azam, helped Pakistan pull up a surprising win against New Zealand in the 35th match of the ICC ODI Men's World Cup 2023, here on Saturday.
It was advantage New Zealand till rain interrupted play in the second innings. But then, lady luck and rain gods helped Pakistan to get two crucial points and a much needed win to keep their semi-finals hopes still alive.
The Kiwis only could look heaven wards for their utter misfortune. On the contrary, Pakistan made a smart by opting to field first, realising they may get a revised target if rain intervened play in the second innings, as per weather forecast.
They also batted sensibly between overs 21.3 and 25.3 by not losing a wicket and scoring rapidly to be ahead in the DLS calculation. Pakistan (200/1) were 21 runs ahead in the DLS, when match was finally called off.
Earlier in the day, asked to bat first New Zealand put on board a massive 401/6 in 50 overs. But with rain intervention after 21.3 overs of play during Pakistan innings, Babar's men were given a revised target of 342 in 41 overs.
Though match resumed for only 4 overs, but rain returned again much to Pakistan's rejoice.
At the start of second innings, Pakistani opener Abdullah Shafique was caught by a splendid diving catch at mid-off by Kiwis captain Kane Williamson of right arm fast Tim Southee. Pakistan getting first jolt with score-card reading 6/1 in 2 overs.
However, the other opener Fakhar Zaman, hit a super 100 in 63-balls and in company of his skipper Babar Azam (66 in 63 balls), was trying to speed up the Pakistani chase. Zaman with unbeaten 126 not out in 81 balls, was rightly adjudged as the Player of the Match.
Earlier, in the New Zealand batted superbly. After only the first power play (at the end of 10 overs), the Black Caps had already scored 66 runs, making their intentions clear.
However, opener Devon Conway (35) after scoring almost run a ball, edged a catch to keeper Mohd Rizwan, who gleefully grabbed the opportunity. Pacer Hasan Ali drew first blood and Kiwis were 68/1 in 11.3 overs.
After Conway's departure, back in playing XI after one more injury-lay off, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson joined young batting sensation Rachin Ravindra in the middle.
Williamson, who usually takes time to get going, was on a different mood at Chinnaswamy Stadium, here on Saturday. The Black Caps captain perhaps had the semi-finals berth in mind.
Williamson scored a rapid 95 in just 79 balls. But he missed a chance to score a ton, as he departed being caught by Fakhar Zaman of part-time off-spinner Iftikhar Ahmed.
After scoring another splendid century in his debut World Cup, Ravindra was out to Mohammad Wasim with Saud Shakeel taking a well judged catch inside the boundary. He made 108 in 94 balls, with 15 hits to the fence and a huge six. Ravindra got a standing ovation from the crowd as he walked back to pavilion.
Then, it was Daryll Mitchell, who while trying to accelerate was clean bowled by pacer Haris Rauf, after putting on board 29 runs in 18 balls. The Kiwis were superbly placed at 318/4 in 41.4 overs.
Mark Chapman, who hardly got to bat in the batting-heavy New Zealand side in this World Cup, proved his mettle with an aggressive 39 in 27 balls. But he was bowled by Mohd Wasim, while trying to improvise.
Get All Updated ICC ODI World cup 2023 News, Photoes & Videos here.
Mohd Wasim struck again as he removed dangerous Glenn Phillips, who was in a severe punishing mood. Phillips scored 41 in only 25 balls, with four 4s and two 6s.
Among the Pakistani bowlers, Mohammad Wasim, who claimed three wickets for 60 runs in the allotted 10 overs quota was the most successful one.
Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed and Haris Rauf got one wicket each. Pakistani bowlers and fielders looked almost lost on the field at times as Kiwis toyed with their bowling attack.
The major concern for Pakistan was their key pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi being mercilessly targeted by New Zealand batsmen. Afridi finished his 10 overs with a forgettable 90/0 figure, much to Pakistan's dismay.
Brief scores: NZ 401/6 in 50 overs; Pakistan 200/1 in 25.3 overs.
Pakistan won by 21 runs (DLS method)
Player of the Match: Fakhar Zaman (126* in 81 balls) .