World Cup is alive, and so is Pakistan. A 6 wicket victory over New Zealand has brought the smiles on the faces of every Pakistani cricket fan. Probably for the first time they will root for India in the World Cup match when India plays against England on Sunday.
For Pakistan to remain in the hunt for the semi-final spot, they have to depend on how India plays, especially against England. Also, the comparisons from World Cup 1992 are going at another level now. Even the run-outs and how many balls left when they won in 1992 is compared to this World Cup.
After winning the toss, New Zealand opted to bat first in overcast conditions. The decision backfired as they lost half of their team for less than 100 including their in-form batsman Kane Williamson.
Shaheen Afridi produced one of the best bowling spells of this World Cup, he took first 3 wickets out of 4 which fell in the first 15 overs. He also bowled three maiden overs in that spell.
The Twitter King James Neesham pulled out the Kiwis from being bowled out for less than 150, he (97 not out) added 132 runs with Colin de Grandhomme (64) for the sixth wicket. New Zealand ends its innings at 237 for six wickets in 50 overs.
Pakistan is known for crumbling under pressure during the chase, but they batted beautifully. Especially Babar Azam, who cracked his maiden World Cup Hundred and first Pakistani middle order batsman to score a hundred in World Cup after 32 years.
He played some beautiful cover drives, and his back-foot square-cut shots were as good as anyone can get.
Having lost both the openers in the first ten overs, Babar first steadied the innings with Hafeez (32), and then his partnership with Haris Sohail (68) nullified all the efforts from Kiwi bowlers and fielders.
Sohail got run out when needed two runs to win, but captain Sarfaraz completed the formality by scoring a boundary to secure a win and 2 points in the match.
- Babar Azam becomes the 2nd fastest to reach 3000 ODI runs. He achieved the milestone in 68 innings. The quickest is Hashim Amla of South Africa who reached 3000 ODI runs in just 57 innings.
- Babar Azam becomes only the 5th middle order batsman from Pakistan to score a World Cup hundred, and the last was Saleem Malik who scored 100 against Sri Lanka way back in 1987.
- Babar Azam (24 years and 254 days old) also becomes the second youngest World Cup centurion for Pakistan. The record is held by Saleem Malik who scored a hundred at the age of 24 years and 192 days.