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Sunday July 21, 2024

Fakhar leads Pakistan’s record run chase at Pindi Stadium

The southpaw was ably supported by his captain Babar Azam (65)

By Abdul Mohi Shah
April 30, 2023
Pakistans Fakhar Zaman during the second one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on April 29, 2023. — AFP
Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman during the second one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on April 29, 2023. — AFP

RAWALPINDI: Prolific and fluent Fakhar Zaman’s (180 not out) yet another hundred spearheaded a courageous run-chase as Pakistan gunned down a record 337 winning target at the Pindi Stadium Saturday, beating New Zealand by seven wickets in the second ODI in front of packed to a capacity crowd.

Followed by his match-winning century in the first ODI, two days back, Fakhar yet again rose to the occasion to see off a challenging target with 10 balls to spare to help Pakistan go 2-0 up in the five-match series.

The southpaw was ably supported by his captain Babar Azam (65). Both put on 135 for the second wicket. Once Pakistan reached 200 in the 30th over, Babar departed, mistiming a push to present an easy catch to close in Chad Bowes off Ish Sodhi. Even Abdullah Shafique (7) left him early, but Fakhar continued to rule with some exciting hitting exhibitions, reaching 150 with a single, hitting 17 fours and three sixes, and adding three more sixes after reaching 150. In all, he hit six sixes and 17 fours during his 144-ball unbeaten hundred. Later with Mohammad Rizwan (54 not out), he put on 119 for the unbroken 4th wicket to achieve a big win.

Fakhar in the process also reached his 3,000 ODI runs in 67 international matches, becoming the first Pakistani and Asian to do so. Babar earlier reached 3,000 runs in 68 ODIs. Hashim Amla achieved the feat in 57 international matches, which still is the world record.

Fakhar’s fifty was raised with the help of 10 boundaries.

He got a lucky escape soon after when Chapman floored him at the deep square leg boundary to the delight of the home crowd.

Earlier, Daryl Mitchell’s (129) second successive hundred and his outstanding 183 runs stand for the second wicket with Tom Latham (98) set up a highest-ever ODI score for Pakistan to chase.

New Zealand’s 336 for 5 was the highest-ever score by a team in ODI cricket at the ground, surpassing Pakistan’s 329 for 6 set by Pakistan against India in 2004.

Mitchell led the Blackcaps’ run riot with yet another special inning that kept Pakistan bowling under pressure on a pitch that offered no assistance to bowlers. Following a relatively slow start that saw Kiwis reaching 100 runs in 17 overs, both Mitchell and Latham shifted gears, stealing single and hitting boundaries on loose deliveries.

Mitchell was too aggressive against debutant Ishanullah who conceded 60 runs in eight overs. Though Haris Rauf also proved costly, conceding 78 of 10 overs, he picked up four wickets that somewhat checked the NZ run-follow during the middle overs. Yet again Naseem Shah (1-49) was the pick of bowlers but the slowness of the wicket made it impossible for him to make inroads into the New Zealand innings.

Mitchell got a lucky escape at 96 dropped by Naseem Shah at short mid-wicket of Usama Mir. An over later, he completed his second consecutive hundred of the series, pulling Ihsanullah for a single to fine-leg. His 102-ball hundred, which was his third in ODI, was studded with six boundaries and two sixes. Earlier, his fifty came off 61 balls with the help of six boundaries.

Latham was not far behind as he was up against the challenge after missing out in the first ODI, making a good account of his stay. He smashed one six and eight fours during his 85-ball knock. Together with Mitchell, he scored 183 runs for the third wicket which set up the tone for a record total on the Pindi Stadium pitch which looked full of runs.

New Zealand again was put into bat by Babar Azam considering the state of the Pindi Stadium wicket. The pitch that was void of any grass was comparatively easier than it was during the opening ODI. Scoring runs and that too on the back foot was easier.

A drama unfolded in between as it took six minutes for the groundsmen to adjust the 30-yard square following first over. Possibly all involved failed to measure one side of the playing track and kept it in accordance with the same pitch where the first one-day was played.

Score: New Zealand 336 for 5 in 50 overs (Daryl Mitchell 129, Tom Latham 98, Chad Bowes 51, Haris Rauf 4-78, Naseem Shah 1-49) Pakistan 337 for 3 in 48.3 overs (Fakhar Zaman 180 not out, Babar Azam 65, Mohammad Rizwan 54 not out, Henry Shipley 1-58, Matt Henry 1-59)

Man of the Match: Fakhar Zaman