ODI World Cup: Pakistan Win Despite NZ Amassing 401; Can Babar & Co. Qualify For Semis?

Bengaluru: Pakistan once again came up with something really special when the chips were down.

Needing a win to keep alive their slim chances of making the semifinals of the ODI World Cup, Babar Azam won the toss and invited New Zealand to bat at Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday. The decision looked to have backfired at the halfway stage of the game as New Zealand amassed a huge total of 401/6, thanks to Rachin Ravindra’s third century of the tournament (108) and comeback captain Kane Williamson’s 95.

Pakistan’s task was seemingly improbable as a 400-plus target has been successfully chased only once in the history of ODIs.

But Fakhar Zaman had other ideas. The left-hander’s clean striking, Babr’s cool head and a little help from the weathergod helped Pakistan reach 200/1 in 25.3 overs, handing them victory by 21 runs through Duckworth-Lewis method as rain prevented any further play.

Fakhar raced to his century in 63 balls – the fastest by a Pakistan batsman in ODIs. The left-hander, who was dropped after the first game and suffered an injury, blasted a record 11 sixes in a knock which sent out a strong message to all and sundry.

The heartbreaking defeat was New Zealand’s fourth on the trot, and jeopardised their chances of making the semifinals.

Both New Zealand and Pakistan have 8 points, with one game in hand, with the Black Caps having a better net run-rate (NRR) than the men in green.

Both teams still have a chance to finish in the top four, but neither has fate in own hands.

Pakistan have to beat England in their last game and hope for a few other favourable results – like New Zealand losing to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan (8 pts) losing at least one of their 2 remaining matches.

If Pakistan do manage to sneak into the semis in fourth spot, there’s a possibility of them meeting arch-rivals India, provided the hosts beat South Africa on Sunday and finish the league stage at No. 1.

Brief scores: New Zealand 401/6 in 50 overs (Rachin Ravindra 108, Kane Williamson 95, Glenn Phillips 41; Mohammad Wasim 3/60). Pakistan 200/1 in 25.3 overs (Fakhar Zaman 126*, Babar Azam 66*).

Result: Pakistan won by 21 runs (D/L method).

Points position: New Zealand 4th (8 pts from 8 games, NRR 0.398); Pakistan 5th (8 pts from 8 games, NRR 0.036).

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