Pakistan keep their semis hope alive as they secure a stunning 21-run win via DLS over New Zealand in the run-fest and stay afloat in the World Cup 2023 at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Fakhar Zaman led Pakistan's charge with incredible inning, scoring a sensational 126 off just 81 balls, becoming the fastest Pakistan batter to score century.
After a nearly hour-long rain delay, Pakistan had been given a revised (Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method ) target of 342 in 41 overs (DLS) to win. Pakistan needed to chase New Zealand's challenging target in 35.2 overs, which was essential to improve their net run rate (NRR), to keep their hopes alive for a spot in the semifinals.
During their innings, Pakistan only lost one wicket, that of Abdullah Shafique, while Fakhar Zaman (126 not out) and skipper Babar Azam (66 not out) were going great guns and having added a massive 194-run stand for the second wicket.
Earlier in the game, Pakistan won the toss and opted to field first. Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra gave a sublime start, adding 68 runs for the opening wicket, and this was the Kiwis' highest opening partnership in this World Cup. Hasan Ali bounced out Conway (35 off 39) and completed 100 ODI wickets.
In came Williamson at No. 3 and batted magnificently. The Kiwi skipper and young Ravindra were involved in a massive 180-run partnership for the 2nd wicket and put the Pakistani bowlers in deep waters. While Ravindra (108 off 94) hammered his 3rd ODI and World Cup hundred, Williamson (95 off 79) fell short of a well-deserved 100, courtesy of Iftikhar Ahmed.
New Zealand's fourth successive loss in the World Cup 2023, has complicated Kane Williamson's chances of qualifying for the semifinals. New Zealand, who have won four matches, have one more match left, which is now a must-win for the Kiwis.
Meanwhile, Pakistan have now won four matches from their eight and still have a mathematical chance of qualifying. Babar Azam's men have moved to fifth place in the points table.