"Credit to Babar and Haris, the way they played on this pitch."
Pakistan beat New Zealand by six wickets in the group phase match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Teenager Shaheen Shah Afridi was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 3-28. Whereas Babar Azam made a terrific hundred as Pakistan went past the winning line.
The all-important match for Pakistan took place at Edgbaston Cricket Stadium in Birmingham on June 26, 2019. The game did not start on time, with some rain in the morning and the pitch having a wet outfield.
Thus the umpires made the decision to have the toss at 11:00 am, with play beginning at 11:30 am. Despite an hours delay, the game was a full fifty overs.
For Pakistan, this was like the second 1992 Cricket World Cup. There was a reason to believe that Pakistan could do well.
With England losing two games on the trot, all eyes were on this game. This was a must-win game for the Green Brigade.
Whilst supporters of England were cheering on New Zealand to ease some pressure off the host nation.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and chose to bat. This was a good toss for the Kiwis to win. Pakistan was also hoping to bat first but knew that they had to chase well.
Both teams made no changes, playing the same XI.
The stadium was filled with Pakistan supporters and green flags as both sides came onto the pitch for the national anthems.
We highlight Pakistan’s win at the Cricket World Cup 2019, including all the action from both innings.
‘Dhoom Dhoom’ Shaheen Shah Afridi
Mohammad Amir got an early breakthrough for Pakistan as he bowled out Martin Guptill after dragging the ball onto his stumps for 0.
This was the second consecutive game that Amir took a wicket off his first ball, to leave New Zealand on 5-1.
In the sixth over, ‘Dhoom Dhoom’ Shaheen Shah Afridi sent Colin Munro packing for twelve as Haris Sohail took a simple cath in the slip.
A super one-handed catch from captain Sarfaraz Ahmed saw the end of Ross Taylor for three as Shaheen got his second wicket.
The Mexican wave got going shortly after the wicket. An edge through to the wicketkeeper off Shaheen was enough to send Tom Latham (1) back to the pavilion. New Zealand was struggling on 46-4.
New Zealand brought up their fifty in the 16th over. The rock of New Zealand Kane Williamson was caught behind by Sarfaraz off Shadab Khan for forty-one.
The kiwis reached their 100 in the 32nd over as James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme built a good partnership. Neesham reached his fifty in the 40th over.
Grandhomme also got to his half-century in the 45thn over. He was eventually run out for 64.
New Zealand made a respectable score of 237 in their fifty overs. Pakistan bowlers certainly did lose momentum at the back end of the innings. The question was could Pakistan chase the fighting total of New Zealand.
Neesham remained unbeaten on ninety-seven off 112 balls.
Marvellous Babar Azam
Pakistan had an early blow as Fakhar Zaman (9) found Martin Guptill at point off Trent Boult. This early wicket gave the All Blacks the belief.
Just when Pakistan was building some momentum, Imam-U-Haq (9) was unable to deal with a rising delivery from Ferguson as Guptill took a fantastic striding catch at point.
With both openers out, Pakistan was in a spot of bother at 44-2.
A wobbly Pakistan got to their fifty in the 13th over. After Hafeez (32) made a sixty-six runs partnership with Babar Azam, he played a silly shot as Lockie Ferguson took an easy catch at cow corner off part-time spinner Williamson.
Despite the dismissal of Hafeez, Haris Sohail and Azam played wonderfully well. Haris reached his half-century in the 45th over, raising his bat to everyone in the crowd, with the Pakistani flags waving ferociously.
His 50 came of sixty-three balls. Meanwhile, at the other end, Azam made a century as he punched his fists in the air. After hugging partner Haris, he kissed the turf.
It was a mature innings from Azam under some pressure.
Despite a great piece of fielding from Guptill to run out Haris for sixty-eight, Pakistan cruised to victory by six wickets as Sarfaraz hit a four through the covers.
Man of the match Azam was very pleased by his performance:
“This is my best innings. The wicket was difficult and turned a lot in the second half. The plan was to go through to the end and give my hundred per cent.
“When we started, the plan was to see out Ferguson. But when Santner came on, the plan became not to give wickets to him and cover up later when the fast bowlers come on.
“The fans support us here in Birmingham, it’s great.”
Acknowledging Pakistan as the better side on the day, Kane Williamson said:
“We were outplayed by a strong Pakistan side. I think there was a little bit more bounce than we experienced on the same surface we played the other day.
“The fight that was shown in the middle and back end was good, to get us in a position where we were competitive. But that partnership with Babar and Haris, they took it from us.”
Meanwhile, Sarfaraz Ahmed gave credit to the whole team for the win:
“The way we played today, it was a great team effort. All the bowlers did really well and in the end Babar and Haris – one of the finest batting I’ve ever seen.
“We knew 240 was not an easy target on this pitch. We just wanted to bat 50 overs. Credit to Babar and Haris, the way they played on this pitch.
“[On 1992] when the World Cup starts, people think that way. But we’re not thinking like that.
“Our focus is the next match. We are very confident and hopefully, we’ll do well.”
Watch match highlights of Pakistan vs New Zealand here:
New Zealand will not be too down by the loss, but they will want to win one more match to guarantee a last four place.
For Pakistan to earn a semi-final berth, they have to win against Afghanistan and Bangladesh and hope that England loses one of their last two games.
DESIblitz congratulates Pakistan for beating New Zealand at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. This was the first loss for New Zealand in the tournament.