Cricket World Cup 2023 PAK vs NZ | Fakhar Zaman’s hurricane ton helps Pakistan stay in the hunt after DLS finish

Pakistan were placed comfortably at 160 for one in their chase of 402 runs for victory when rain stopped play with 21.3 overs bowled

November 04, 2023 10:42 am | Updated November 05, 2023 12:16 pm IST - Bengaluru

Rain during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match between Pakistan and New Zealand, at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium (KSCA), in Bengaluru on November 04, 2023.

Rain during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match between Pakistan and New Zealand, at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium (KSCA), in Bengaluru on November 04, 2023. | Photo Credit: Murali Kumar K

A swashbuckling century from Fakhar Zaman (126 n.o., 81b, 8x4, 11x6) helped Pakistan defeat New Zealand by 21 runs (DLS method) and keep alive its hopes of making the World Cup semifinals.

At the break on Saturday, New Zealand would have been at ease, having recorded 401 for six, the highest total at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. But a blistering counter-attack from Zaman and a steady half-century from skipper Babar Azam (66 n.o., 63b, 6x4, 2x6) meant Pakistan had its nose in front in a game thrice interrupted by rain.

Zaman hit as many as 11 sixes, one bigger than the other, and all except one whacked into the stands on the leg-side. The 33-year-old was more egalitarian in his collection of boundaries, with the eight split equally either side.

This splendid knock was punctuated by a 90-minute rain break. Pakistan was at 160 for one after 21.3 overs, but the target was revised to a steep 342 from 41. However, the Men in Green chugged along merrily, with Babar getting to his fifty with a four past short-fine, then launching Ish Sodhi over long-on and Zaman smashing the leggie over mid-wicket for the last of his giant sixes.

The Black Caps desperately needed a wicket, but another spell of rain three balls into the 26th over ended up prolonging their wait for a last-four berth.

But for much of the day, the over 20,000-strong crowd would have believed that the 180-run partnership between Rachin Ravindra (108, 94b, 15x4, 1x6) and the returning Kane Williamson (95, 79b, 10x4, 2x6) would be game-defining.

Babar chose to field, perhaps with an eye on the weather. With his spinners woefully out of form, he went in with four pacers but Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf collectively bled 257 runs.

Sumptuous knock

Ravindra, watched on by his Bengaluru-based extended family members, started with an elegant glance to the fine-leg boundary. If that was the appetiser, the main course was classy and the dessert sumptuous. He cover-drove to perfection and picked bowlers off his legs superbly, with the towering six over mid-wicket off Rauf to bring up New Zealand’s 200 his standout shot.

Williamson was more workmanlike. Two of his first three boundaries were edged but he unlocked areas of the ground like no other, with the lofted six off tweaker Agha Salman, the most eye-catching.

Though the duo fell in quick succession, the quartet of Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman, Glenn Phillips and Mitchell Santner added 135 runs at over 140. Little did they know that Zaman and the weather had other ideas.

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