RAWALPINDI: Pakistani opener Fakhar Zaman’s unbeaten 180 propelled the home side to a seven-wicket victory against New Zealand at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
The left-handed opener was phenomenal with the bat as he lit up Pindi Stadium to help Pakistan take a 2-0 lead in the ODI series.
Opener Imam-ul-Haq was sent to the pavilion after he was dismissed for a total of 66 runs. But, Fakhar remained top of the table with his magnificent performance.
Set to chase 337 runs, Fakhar got full support from skipper Babar Azam after Imam departed. They both scored a match-building partnership of 135 runs.
Babar went out on a soft dismissal off Ish Sodhi after scoring 65 runs. Fakhar kept going and in the end, partnered strongly with Mohammad Rizwan to complete the highest chase in ODIs in Pindi.
The left-handed batter remained not out for 180 runs laced with 17 boundaries and six maximums. Meanwhile, he also became the fastest Asian to score 3,000 runs.
It was Fakhar’s third consecutive century in ODIs, which made him only the fourth Pakistan batter to do so after Zaheer Abbas, Saeed Anwar, and Babar.
Rizwan, on the other hand, brought up his 19th half-century and too in a winning cause for Pakistan. The wicket-keeper batter smoked 54 not out including six boundaries.
For New Zealand, Matt Henry, Henry Shipley and Sodhi shared a wicket apiece.
Earlier, Daryl Mitchell showed commitment to his team once again as he registered another ODI to help New Zealand post 336-5.
After being sent into bat first, New Zealand lost their opener Will Young in the sixth over. Haris Rauf, who ended up taking four wickets in his 10 overs, started the proceedings by removing Young (19) in the sixth over.
Mitchell and Chad Bowes built the innings from there with Bowes scoring his maiden ODI half-century. The two batters were too good against Pakistani bowlers who went for plenty of runs initially. They scored 86 off 80 together to put New Zealand in a position to score something over 300.
It was again Rauf who provided a breakthrough to Pakistan as they left out their key bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi for this match. Rauf bowled a slower one to get rid of Bowes who scored run-a-ball 51.
Later on, Mitchell got the support of captain Tom Latham who in the end missed his century by just two runs. Latham and Mitchell partnered strongly for 183 runs and ensured a big total in the first innings. Latham was given out on a review when nobody else believed it except Rauf.
Mitchell, who was dropped on 96 by Naseem Shah, gave his wicket to the same man in 46th over. He smoked 129 runs laced with eight boundaries and three maximums.
Rauf took four wickets while Naseem managed only a scalp.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Agha Salman, Abdullah Shafique, Ihsanullah, Usama Mir
New Zealand: Tom Latham (captain), Chad Bowes, Mark Chapman, Matt Henry, Henry Shipley, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Ish Sodhi, James Neesham, Will Young
Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Rashid Riaz (PAK)
TV umpire: Ahsan Raza (PAK)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)