New Zealand v Pakistan ICC World Cup Match 33 at Edgbaston

Neil Whitaker reports

BABAR Azam hit an unbeaten 101 as Pakistan beat New Zealand by six wickets with five balls to spare to keep their hopes of reaching the semi finals alive.

He made the Kiwi’s pay for dropping him on 38 when he went back to Mitchell Santner and got a thick edge but stumper Tom Latham couldn’t take the chance.  In the wider picture the match turned after the 35th over up to then the bowlers were keeping the Pakistan batsmen in check. Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson brought on Colin Monroe, another part time bowler, also bowling for the first time in this tournament, to partner Williamson. Monroe was driven by Babar to the extra cover boundary to bring up the 150.  In the next over he went down the pitch to Williamson and drove him to the long on boundary and pulled the next ball to the square leg boundary. Those two overs yielded 19 runs.

Babar and Muhammad Hafeez had problems facing the pace of Lockie Ferguson and then they had problems facing the left arm spin of Santner who turned the ball past the bat and squared them up

10 overs earlier Williamson had the Midas touch when he  brought himself on for his first bowl in this tournament and he struck with his first ball. Hafeez charged Williamson and drove him to Ferguson on the deep mid wicket boundary.  They had added 66 off 89 balls. Another part time bowler Jimmy Neesham had 13 hit of his third over by Babar and Hafeez.

Barbar turned Williamson round the corner to bring up his fifty from 65 balls and included five fours. Babar drove Santner through the covers and Martin Guptill at short cover seemed to have it covered but the ball hit the matting protecting the England/India pitch and the ball ran under Guptill for a couple. He got down on one knee to Santner and thrashed him against the spin to the wicket boundary and swept the next ball to the square leg boundary.

Babar pulled Ferguson to the mid wicket boundary to take him to 99 and cut   him for a single to take him to his first World Cup century.

Haris Somali and Babar then took their anger out on Santner, Haris went down the wicket to Santner and launched him cow corner for his first six.  He hit his second six when he gently hit Trent Boult back over his head for a straight six and he drove Boult off his back foot for a couple through point to bring up his fifty from 63 balls which included three fours and two sixes.  Another couple off the next ball brought up the hundred partnership from 122 balls.

The partnership was broken two runs short of victory when Babar tried to pinch a quick single but Haris was run out inches short.

After electing to bat after winning the Neesham hit an unbeaten 97, the highest score by a New Zealand number six in the World Cup.Neesham said: “It’ll be something I’ll reflect on when the tournament has finished. It would be niaeve to think that we could go through the whole tournament undefeated.”

New Zealand’s first sixth wicket  century partnership of 132 in 21 overs between Neesham and Colin De Grandhomme rescued their innings and gave their bowlers a score to defend.  When the pair came together at 83 for five in the 27th over a score of 150 looked beyond them.

When Neesham came to the wicket he was lucky not to edge the first ball he received from Shaheen Afridi but  he went on to hit his highest score in ODI cricket. Neesham lofted Shadab over long on for the first six of the match and that wasn’t till the 32nd over.

Neesham picked Mohammad  Amir off his legs and deposited him over mid wicket for his second six to take him to his ODI score.  He brought up his when he tickled Afridi for a single to bring up his half century off 77 balls with two fours and a six.

The partnership was broken when Neesham chopped Wahab to Amir at third man and set off for a single.  Amir’s throw was met by Sarfraz who threw the stumps down with De Grandhomme struggling to make his ground.

De Grandhomme, who played for Birmingham in the T20, loves this ground because a week ago he hit an unbeaten 60 against South Africa, today he went four better.On seven De Grandhomme pushed Wahab Riaz out to point and set off for a single just beating Shadab’s direct hit at the bowler’s end.  A run out always looked the favourite to break the partnership earlier in his innings when he was on seven De Grandhomme pushed Wahab out to point and set off for a single just beating Shadab’s direct hit at the bowler’s end.  The pair also survived another run out attempt but again they were just home.

The Kiwi’s got off to a disastrous start after winning the toss and electing to bat, Pakistan have only won the toss once at Edgbaston in their last five ODI’S here.  They lost their first wicket to Mohammed Amir’s first ball when Martin Guptill got a big inside edge and dragged it on. The second time in consecutive matches that Amir has struck with his first bat. He trapped South African  Hashim Amal leg before on Sunday.

Five overs later they lost their second wicket when Munro’s got a thick outside edge to Afridi and at slip took a comfortable waiste height catch. The fourth time that Afridi has dismissed Munroe’s in 25 balls.

Afridi got his second wicket in his next over when Ross Taylor pushed at home and edged it.  Sarfraz took a brilliant one handed catch diving to his right. He got his third wicket in 20 balls for five runs when Latham edged a straight ball to Sarfraz.  In his first spell Afridi of seven overs he three wickets for 11.

It could have been worse when an inside edge by Williamson off Wahab ran to the boundary for the first four in 13 overs.  Pakistan eventually got rid of Williamson pushed at Shadab and got a thick outside edge to Sarfraz. He faced 69 balls for his 41 at this stage the match looked over.

A well balanced forward push by Inman-ul-Haq off Henry got the Pakistan fans off their seats at the other end. Fakhar Zaman drove Boult beautifully to the cover boundary but the bowler was to have his revenge at the end of the over.  Fakhar tried to work him off his legs but got a leading edge and Guptill at point took an easy catch. Fakhar couldn’t believe what he had done as he just stood there for a while.

After twice playing and missing at Boult, played two brilliant shots,the first to the square leg boundary and the second to the cover boundary.

Inman fended off a quick short ball from Ferguson and Guptill ran in from point and managed to scoop the ball up before it reached the ground.


June 27, 2019 8:57 am

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