Pakistan displayed a commanding performance, extending their lead over New Zealand to 4-0 in the ODI series with a resounding 102-run triumph in Karachi on Saturday (May 6). Led by Babar Azam’s splendid century and Agha Salman’s dynamic half-century, Pakistan established a solid platform after being asked to bat first. Contributions from Iftikhar Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, and Mohammad Haris propelled the hosts to a formidable total of 334/6. Despite Tom Latham’s valiant efforts, New Zealand faltered and succumbed to a total of 232, resulting in a comprehensive victory for Pakistan.
Building a Strong Foundation: Shan Masood and Fakhar Zaman Shine
Pakistan’s opening pair of Shan Masood and the in-form Fakhar Zaman made an impressive start, accumulating six boundaries in the initial six overs. Zaman’s aggression, however, led to his departure for 14 as he top-edged a pull off Matt Henry. Masood, on the other hand, seemed destined for a half-century but was stumped off Ish Sodhi’s delivery, falling short at 44. Additionally, Mohammad Rizwan’s innings was cut short at 24 as he was unfortunately run out, leaving Pakistan slightly unsettled at 128/3 in the 25th over.
Babar Azam and Agha Salman Propel Pakistan’s Innings
To prevent stagnation, Babar Azam and Agha Salman unleashed a flurry of boundaries, ensuring Pakistan’s innings continued at a brisk pace. Salman showcased his power-hitting prowess by smashing two consecutive sixes off Cole McConchie, bolstering the fourth-wicket partnership to 117. However, Salman’s innings concluded with a catch to Henry, departing for a quickfire 58 off 46 deliveries. Babar, nearing his 18th ODI century, moderated his tempo, while Iftikhar Ahmed provided impetus with five fours, including three off Blair Tickner in a single over. Iftikhar eventually fell victim to Henry, becoming his third scalp.
Babar, having registered a century from 113 balls, fell to Ben Lister, handing a catch to the fielder at deep midwicket. At 296/6 in 48 overs, Haris and Shaheen accelerated in the final two overs, adding 38 runs. Haris struck a six and a four off Henry, while Shaheen launched three maximums and a boundary off Tickner in the last over, propelling Pakistan to a substantial total.
Pakistan’s Timely Strikes Keep New Zealand in Check
New Zealand’s top-order batsmen made promising starts, but Pakistan’s well-timed breakthroughs prevented their opponents from gaining momentum. The opening partnership of 36 runs ended in the seventh over when Will Young found the deep midwicket fielder, granting Mohammad Wasim Jr the first breakthrough. In the subsequent over, Haris Rauf claimed Tom Blundell’s wicket as he chipped a catch to cover.
Daryl Mitchell and Latham steadied the innings with an 83-run alliance for the third wicket. During this period, Latham received a reprieve from a poor review and a missed stumping, both instances occurring when he was on strike. Mitchell, too, enjoyed fortune when he was on 30, as Babar dropped a straightforward catch at cover, depriving Usama Mir of a wicket. However, Mir eventually dismissed New Zealand’s highest run-scorer in the series, as Mitchell edged one to short third man, departing for a 34
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At this time Pakistani team performance is the Best