BENGALURU: Flamboyant opener Fakhar Zaman smashed a blistering century to save Pakistan from World Cup elimination with a dramatic rain-affected 21-run victory against New Zealand in Bengaluru on Saturday.
The 33-year-old left-hander chased down a revised DLS target of 342 in 41 overs, smashing 11 sixes and eight boundaries in his unbeaten 81-ball 126 when rain forced the match against Pakistan to end prematurely at 200-1 after 25.3 overs. .
“We know that every match is do or die for us,” Zaman said.
Rachin Ravindra made his third century in the tournament while Kane Williamson scored 95 to help New Zealand take a 401-6 lead in 50 overs.
While Zaman, who had initially set a massive target of 402 runs, took Pakistan to 160-1 after 21.3 overs, a 90-minute stoppage due to rain led to the target being revised for Pakistan.
After the restart, Zaman maintained his pace and hit three sixes off spinner Ish Sodhi’s 25th over to take Pakistan past the 200 mark.
Captain Babar Azam says World Cup is not over for Pakistan
Pakistan needed to overhaul their original target of 402 in 35.3 overs if they were to go beyond New Zealand’s better net run rate, which could be crucial in the fight for semi-final places.
However, Abdullah Shafique fell for four in the second round.
Zaman and skipper Babar Azam (66) added 194 for an unbroken second-wicket stand.
Pakistan defeat Bangladesh to survive World Cup
Time took the attack to the New Zealand bowlers and hit four sixes and as many boundaries in his 39-ball fifty.
He completed his 11th ODI hundred and first in the World Cup with a six and a single off Mitchell Santner.
His century came off 63 balls with nine sixes and six boundaries.
Pakistan now have eight points from as many matches in their last match against England in Kolkata on November 11.
Not only do they have to win this one, but they also have to hope New Zealand loses to Sri Lanka in Bengaluru on November 9, otherwise the match ends in rain.
“We were trying to give our 100%, but we couldn’t achieve our target in some matches,” Azam said.
“If we win our next game, let’s see… we’ll try to play positively.”
As a result of Pakistan’s victory, South Africa became the second team to advance to the semi-finals, along with India.
New Zealand accumulated 401
Earlier, it was Ravindra and Williamson who set the total platform after New Zealand were included in the batting.
Ravindra continued his superb form with a 94-ball 108 with 15 boundaries and a six, and his innings was matched by Williamson, who enhanced his 79-ball knock with two sixes and 10 boundaries.
It was Ravindra’s third century of the tournament – in addition to two half-centuries – and he was in complete control until the 36th over when Mohammad Wasim hid deep in the wicket at mid-wicket.
“It’s quite difficult to get our head around it after getting that total,” Williamson said after the match.
But we will get positive results until the next match.”
On the Chinnaswamy pitch, which looked dry, Pakistan entered the match with four fast bowlers and two part-time spinners and sent New Zealand to bat with rain forecast for the afternoon.
In contrast, New Zealand brought in leg-spinner Sodhi along with three other slow bowlers, including an in-form Santner.
After Ravindra and Devon Conway scored 66 in the first power-play, Conway fell to Hasan Ali’s short-off ball after scoring a 35-ball 39 with six boundaries.
Williamson, who had knee surgery just before the World Cup, played just one match against Bangladesh before breaking his thumb.
But the New Zealand skipper showed no signs of rust and added 180 for the second wicket with Ravindra.
Williamson fell with the score on 248, leaving Iftikhar Ahmed at long-on, before Ravindra also mis-missed a lofted shot and Wasim was caught on the boundary.
Daryl Mitchell (29) and Mark Chapman (39) added quick-fire 57 for the fourth wicket as none of the Pakistan bowlers could stem the flow of runs.
While Glenn Phillips hit a 25-ball 41 with four boundaries and two sixes, Santner did not fall behind and hit two sixes in his 17-ball 26.
Wasim was Pakistan’s best bowler with 3-60 but Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf conceded 90 and 85 respectively in 10 overs; this was the worst ever figures by Pakistan bowlers in any World Cup.
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