Fantastic Fakhar flays NZ again as Pakistan go 2-0 up

RAWALPINDI: Once again, Fakhar Zaman followed Daryl Mitchell in scoring a century. Once again, the result was the same; the Pakistan opener setting up victory for his side. This time though, Fakhar saw it till the end.

For the second time in three days, Fakhar put the New Zealand batter’s exploits in the shade; the left-hander smashing a masterful 180 not out as Pakistan cantered to a seven-wicket win with 10 balls to spare in a high-scoring second One-day International at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

It was Fakhar’s third ODI century in a row, and came after his 117 in the series opener on Thursday. He also scored a century against New Zealand in the last game of the previous series between the two sides earlier this year.

Fakhar led the chase from start to finish, smashing six sixes and 17 fours during his 144-ball stay as Pakistan chased down an imposing 337-run target with consummate ease.

Captain Babar Azam provided valuable support to the left-hander, making 65 in a 135-run partnership for the second wicket with Mohammad Rizwan making a brisk 54 off 41 balls to help Fakhar close out the win as Pakistan took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

Mitchell, who scored 113 in the opening game, bettered it with 129 and shared a 183-run partnership for the third wicket with his skipper Tom Latham who made an enterprising 98 but it wasn’t enough for New Zealand.

Pakistan rested pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi and off-spinner Shadab Khan and saw their bowlers plundered for plenty after they put New Zealand into bat; Naseem Shah the only bowler to go under five an over.

New Zealand opener Will Young had made a blazing 86 in the opener but fell early this time when he edged Haris Rauf (4-78) to wicket-keeper Rizwan after making 19. His opening partner Chad Bowes made himself count this time, sharing an 86-run stand with Mitchell.

Michell surivived some vicious short bowling by Ihsanullah early in his innings before coming into his own with a six off Haris over mid-off. Bowes also found his shots, hitting seven fours in his 51 off 51 — the last off them a cracking drive off Haris before he was trapped lbw off the very next ball.

Mitchell and Latham, who started cautiously, then frustrated the Pakistan bowlers. Mitchell reached his half-century off 53 balls, reverse-sweeping Agha Salman for four, and surviving on 96 when Naseem spilled a straightforward catch off leg-spinner Usama Mir.


 NEW ZEALAND centurion Daryl Mitchell makes the crease as Pakistan wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan looks to receive the ball during the second ODI at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star
NEW ZEALAND centurion Daryl Mitchell makes the crease as Pakistan wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan looks to receive the ball during the second ODI at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star


Latham then pulled Usama for four to reach his half-century off 61 balls. It was just Latham’s third boundary and after Mitchell raised his 100 in the next over, the duo cut loose.

Mitchell flicked Ihsan for four past fine leg and then slog-swept Usama four four in the next over. Usama was then plundered for 18 runs in his final over; Mitchell getting the third and final six of his innings and Latham hitting two fours.Latham was forcing the issue; Haris was lifted for a four and six off consecutive deliveries early in the 45th over before the left-hander successfully reviewed to overturn a lbw decision.

In the first five of the last 10 overs, New Zealand had plundered 61 runs but Pakistan finally got some joy when Naseem had Mitchell caught in the deep halfway through the 46th. Mitchell hit eight fours and three sixes in his 119-ball knock.

Latham followed soon after, having guided Haris for four through the off-side before getting caught behind off the next ball and falling two short off what would’ve been his eighth ODI century. He hit a six and eight fours during his 85-ball stay.

The quick dismissals saw a dip in New Zealand’s scoring rate and Haris dismissed Mark Chapman to get his fourth wicket but James Neesham’s 17 not out ensured the tourists crossed the 330-run mark.

Knowing a fast start was needed, Fakhar hit five boundaries in the opening three overs. He then welcomed Neesham with back-to-back fours in the seventh over and repeated the trick in the all-rounder’s next over.His opening partner Imam-ul-Haq had also got off to a start, scoring 24 before falling in the 10th over, skying a bouncer by Matt Henry to mid-wicket.

Babar joined Fakhar in the middle and the duo kept the runs coming with Fakhar, who reached his half-century off 44 balls, seeing two chances dropped soon after — both off Neesham.

Bowes spilled the left-hander at point when he was at 51 and then Chapman dropped Fakhar at the mid-wicket boundary when he was on 55. How New Zealand were left to rue those chances with Fakhar celebrating the let-offs with a towering six over deep mid-wicket off Sodhi and then went 4-6-6 off the leg-spinner in the 21st over.

Fakhar raised his hundred off 83 balls in the 28th over with Babar completing his fifty off 57 a few balls later and then seeing his partner end the over with a six.

Babar then smashed Sodhi for a majestic six over extra cover and followed it with his fifth four two balls later but was gone on the last ball of the 30th over after his leading edge was snapped up by Bowes.

Four overs without a boundary followed and Abdullah Shafique fell to the pressure; a backtracking Henry taking a superb catch as the debutant tried to hit Henry Shipley over mid-off.

Rizwan started off with a backhand punch for a boundary and after surviving a run out — Bowes failing to hit the stumps with the batter well short — gave Fakhar the support he needed.

Fakhar raised his bat again after reaching the 150-run mark off 125 mark and then launched spinner Rachin Ravindra into orbit off the first ball of the 43rd over to bring the target down to run-a-ball. He ended the over with a six over the bowler’s head. A disdainful six over square leg off Neesham followed. New Zealand had no answer and Pakistan finished them off with Rizwan, who hit six fours, getting the winning runs.

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