Following a rain delay lasting over an hour, Pakistan was tasked with a revised target of 342 runs in 41 overs (DLS) for victory in Bengaluru.
Before the interruption, the Pakistani team had been in a strong position, reaching 160/1 in 21.3 overs.
Fakhar Zaman’s exceptional performance was instrumental in the formidable chase against New Zealand, as he showcased a stunning century off just 63 balls, spearheading Pakistan’s charge.
Despite an early setback in the second over when Tim Southee dismissed Abdullah Shafique for a mere 4 runs, Fakhar persisted with his aggressive batting, taking on the likes of Trent Boult and Glenn Philips.
Notably, his century marked the fastest by a Pakistani batsman in World Cup history. Meanwhile, Babar Azam remained resolute and composed at the crease.
Amid the intensifying competition for a spot in the top four, the recent contribution from Rachin Ravindra has injected fresh excitement.
New Zealand, currently holding the fourth position, put up a commanding total of 401/6 in 50 overs against sixth-placed Pakistan in Bengaluru on Saturday. Pakistan initially won the toss and chose to bowl.
New Zealand displayed confidence by deploying Ravindra as the opening batsman alongside Devon Conway. The duo made a strong start in this 2023 World Cup match, exerting pressure on the Pakistani pacers.
However, Conway (35) lost his wicket to Hasan Ali’s delivery in the 11th over. Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan caught the Kiwi batsman’s under-edge.
Securing their initial breakthrough, it seemed Pakistan was poised to seize control. However, Ravindra’s elegant response was swift, achieving his half-century in the 20th over.
This marked his third fifty in his debut World Cup, solidifying his position as an exceptional all-rounder. With captain Kane Williamson, Ravindra forged a formidable partnership, eventually reaching his century in the 34th over.
His remarkable feat made him the first player to attain three centuries in his debut World Cup.
Meanwhile, Williamson, while at an impressive 95, succumbed to Iftikhar Ahmed’s delivery in the 35th over.
Likewise, Ravindra, after a commendable 108, met his end in the 34th over, falling victim to Mohammad Wasim Jr. Following the departures of Williamson and Ravindra, Mitchell and Chapman dutifully followed suit, amplifying the pressure on Pakistan. Mitchell (29) was claimed by Haris Rauf in the 42nd over, whereas Chapman (39) was dismissed by Wasim Jr in the 45th over.
Glenn Phillips’ (42) valiant effort brought New Zealand to the 400-run mark before he departed in the 49th over, leaving his team at 388/6. Mitchell Santner (26*), exhibiting his prowess, hammered a decisive six in the final over, propelling New Zealand beyond the 400-run milestone and setting a formidable target of 402 runs for Pakistan. Wasim Jr’s impressive performance culminated in three wickets, culminating in his contributions to Pakistan’s bowling effort.
New Zealand has secured four victories and suffered three defeats, with their latest setback being a significant 190-run loss to South Africa. This defeat has raised serious questions about their capabilities.
Meanwhile, Pakistan breathed new life into their campaign by securing a crucial seven-wicket triumph over Bangladesh, who were already eliminated.
As a result, Pakistan’s points tally has now reached six. If they face defeat against New Zealand, their hopes of reaching the semifinals in India will end.
On the other hand, a victory would keep their chances of progressing to the knockouts alive, although they would still need to win their other match and rely on favorable outcomes in other games.
Skipper Williamson has returned to the New Zealand team, replacing opener Will Young. Moreover, Ish Sodhi has been brought in to replace Matt Henry, while Mark Chapman steps in for James Neesham.
On the other hand, Pakistan has only made a single alteration, with Hasan Ali coming in for Usama Mir.
Key highlights from the New Zealand versus Pakistan match in Bengaluru:
- Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first.
- New Zealand made three changes to their lineup: Captain Kane Williamson replaced Will Young, Ish Sodhi came in for Matt Henry, and Mark Chapman substituted for James Neesham.
- Pakistan made one change, bringing in Hasan Ali for Usama Mir.
- Rachin Ravindra scored his third half-century in the debut World Cup.
- Kane Williamson achieved a half-century but was dismissed for 95 in the 35th over.
- Rachin Ravindra was dismissed for 108 in the 36th over, making him the first player to score three centuries in a debut World Cup.
- New Zealand set a formidable total of 401/6 in 50 overs.