Fakhar Zaman smashed a magnificent unbeaten century to guide Pakistan to a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in Rawalpindi last night.
With this win, Pakistan took a 2-0 lead in the five-match one-day international series at home. Pakistan captain Babar Azam won the toss and opted to field first. The hosts started the first innings well with pacer Haris Rauf getting rid of Kiwi opener Will Young in the sixth over. Fellow opening batter Chad Bowes then formed a crucial 86-run partnership with Daryl Mitchell to settle New Zealand’s innings, before being caught LBW by Rauf. Bowes scored 51 runs off as many deliveries, while smashing seven boundaries.
Mitchell then stitched a massive 183-run stand with Tom Latham and even went on to complete his second century in ODI cricket. Mitchell scored 129 runs off 119 balls, hitting eight boundaries and three sixes, before being dismissed by pacer Naseem Shah.
Latham soon followed Mitchell back into the dugout, after missing out on a well-deserved hundred. Latham scored 98 runs off 85 deliveries and became Rauf’s third wicket of the day. The right-arm pacer then sent Mark Chapman packing as New Zealand finished with 336 for 5 on the scoreboard after 50 overs. Rauf was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers, claiming four wickets while giving away 78 runs in 10 over.
In reply, Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq started off in positive fashion and formed a 66-run stand for the opening wicket, before Matt Henry dismissed Imam in the 10th over. Then, skipper Azam stitched a vital 132-run partnership with Zaman, which saw both batters complete their respective half-centuries.
However, Ish Sodhi provided the important breakthrough for his side, getting rid of Babar in the 30th over. Babar scored 65 runs off 66 balls, hitting five boundaries and a six. Abdullah Shafique came and went without moving the scoreboard much as Henry Shipley claimed his only wicket of the evening.
Zaman kept on scoring at a positive run-rate and formed another important partnership, this time with wicket-keeping batter Mohammad Rizwan. The two batters stuck around for an unbeaten 119-run stand which drove Pakistan over the line in Rawalpindi. Zaman remained unbeaten on 180(144) which included 17 boundaries and six sixes. Rizwan remained unbeaten on 54(41), hitting six boundaries on the way.
The third match will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi on Wednesday.