Azam hits ton
BIRMINGHAM, England, June 26, (RTRS): Babar Azam made an unbeaten century as Pakistan beat New Zealand by six wickets on Wednesday to move a point behind hosts England in the Cricket World Cup standings and boost their chances of reaching the semifinals.
New Zealand, unbeaten in their first six games of the tournament, lost four early wickets before Jimmy Neesham’s 97 not out lifted them to a respectable total of 237 for six at Edgbaston.
Azam scored 101 not out and Haris Sohail 68 to guide Pakistan to their target with five balls to spare and, with their remaining games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh, the 1992 world champions will be confident of reaching the last four.
New Zealand remained second in the standings, a point behind leaders Australia, and should still comfortably make the semifinals.
Meanwhile Mohammed Shami’s hat-trick in his first match at this year’s World Cup has left India with a pace bowling dilemma ahead of Thursday’s match against West Indies but bowling coach Bharat Arun calls it a happy headache.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar had shared the new ball with Jasprit Bumrah until the swing bowler suffered a hamstring injury in India’s comprehensive victory against Pakistan.
Drafted into the playing XI, Shami sealed India’s narrow victory against Afghanistan with the tournament’s first hat-trick in Southampton on Saturday.
A fit-again Kumar was back in the nets ahead of the clash against West Indies and Arun admitted the team would have to make a difficult choice at Old Trafford.
“Bhuvneshwar’s injury is not of any great concern. It is just a niggle, which we didn’t want to take a chance,” the former test bowler told reporters on Wednesday.
“And it was also an opportunity for us to plug Shami into the games. But the fact he’s done exceptionally well augurs well for us, it’s an embarrassment of riches.
“We’d take a call as per the conditions, but Bhuvi has done exceptionally well, so I think it’s a pretty good headache to have.”
Arun was also pleased with all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s evolution as a reliable fifth bowler who could be trusted to bowl his full quota, something not many were sure he could a couple of years back.
“It was a big challenge for him to bowl those 10 overs, and he realised that to be able to bowl those 10 overs ‘I need to develop a certain armoury in my bowling’.
“And that’s what he’s worked on. He’s worked on his slow balls, his slow bounces also, and he’s also worked on perfecting his bouncers.
“All these put together have given him the confidence to go through those 10 overs.”
Bumrah, the top ranked ODI bowler, leads India’s formidable pace attack while the two-time champions have a potent slow bowling attack comprising the wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Pakistan vs New Zealand Scoreboard
LONDON June 26, (RTRS): Scoreboard at close of play of match 33 between New Zealand and Pakistan on Wednesday at Birmingham, England Pakistan win by 6 wickets
M. Guptill b Amir 5
C. Munro c Sohail b S Afridi 12
K. Williamson c Ahmed b Khan 41
R. Taylor c Ahmed b Afridi 3
T. Latham c Ahmed b Afridi 1
J. Neesham Not Out 97
C. Grandhomme Run Out Amir 64
Mitchell Santner Not Out 5
Extras 2b 3lb 0nb 0pen 4w 9
Total (50.0 overs) 237-6
Fall of Wickets: 1-5 Guptill, 2-24 Munro, 3-38 Taylor, 4-46 Latham, 5-83 Williamson, 6-215 de Grandhomme
Did Not Bat: Henry, Ferguson, Boult
Bowling: Mohammad Hafeez 7-0-22-0-3.14; Mohammad Amir 10-0-67-1-6.70; Shaheen Afridi 10-3-28-3-2.80; Imad Wasim 3-0-17-0-5.67; Shadab Khan 10-0-43-1-4.30; Wahab Riaz 10- 0-55-0-5.50.
I. ul-Haq c Guptill b Ferguson 19
F. Zaman c Guptill b Boult 9
Babar Azam Not Out 101
Hafeez c Ferguson b Williamson 32
Haris Sohail run out Guptill 68
Sarfaraz Ahmed Not Out 5
Extras 0b 0lb 0nb 0pen 7w 7
Total (241 for 4 – 49.1 overs)
Fall of Wickets: 1-19 Zaman, 2-44 ul-Haq, 3-110 Hafeez, 4-236 Sohail
Did Not Bat : Wasim, Khan, Riaz, Amir, Afridi
Bowling: Trent Boult 10-0-48-1-4.80; Matt Henry 7-0-25-0-3.57; Lockie Ferguson 8.1-0-50-1-6.12; Colin de Grandhomme 2-0-12-0-6.00; Mitchell Santner 10-0-38-0-3.80; Jimmy Neesham 3-0-20-0-6.67; Kane Williamson 8-0-39-1-4.88; Colin Munro 1-0-9-0 9.00.
Umpire Paul Reiffel Umpire Bruce Oxenford Video Paul Wilson Match Referee Richard Richardson