Pakistan kept their hopes of a World Cup semi-final place alive as they moved to within a point of England with a six-wicket victory over New Zealand. Babar Azam’s 101 saw Pakistan home in front of a partisan crowd at Edgbaston after Shaheen Afridi had ripped through New Zealand’s top order.
New Zealand scored 237 for six in their 50 overs but that total proved inadequate as Babar Azam scored an impressive unbeaten 101 and Haris Sohail (68) offered valuable support. Pakistan reached their target off the first ball of their final over, finishing on 241-4.
“The wicket was difficult but my aim was to bat for 50 overs and if I did I knew Pakistan would win the match,” said man-of-the-match Babar. “We know we´d need to score runs off the pace bowlers. Once (Mitchell) Santner came on it was doing stuff off the pitch so (Mohammad) Hafeez told me to stick at it and score three or four runs an over.”
Pakistan now have seven points, level with fifth-placed Bangladesh and just one point behind hosts England
Babar Becomes second-fastest to reach 3,000
During the course of his innings, Babar became the second-fastest to reach 3,000 one-day international runs in front of thousands of fanatical Pakistan fans. Babar, 24, took 11 innings more than South Africa´s Hashim Amla, who reached the milestone in 57 innings, but overtook West Indies great Viv Richards (69 innings).
He reached his hundred off 124 balls with 11 fours.
Left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-28) starred as Pakistan reduced New Zealand to 83-5, with in-form captain Kane Williamson dismissed by leg-spinner Shadab Khan for 41. New Zealand are second in the table on 11 points behind Australia, the only team who have qualified so far. The top four teams qualify for the semi-finals.
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18 July, 2019