Pakistan vs. New Zealand 1st ODI: Top 10 Moments of the Game
Pakistan comprehensively defeated New Zealand to take a 1-0 series lead, with Fakhar Zaman hitting his 9th ODI hundred.
1. Whilst he failed to add his name to the wickets column in his opening spell, Naseem Shah was able to generate prodigious shape off the new ball, leaving New Zealand’s openers clueless on a fair few occasions. With two maidens sandwiched between his first and fourth overs, the tearaway quick from Lower Dir conceded just 8 runs in 24 deliveries, having beaten the bat consistently, but to no avail. Not the first time Pakistan fans have been exposed to this phenomenon, where Naseem just can not seem to buy an edge, even if he tried.
2. With the Kiwis advancing their score to 48 in just under 10 overs, Pakistan were in desperate need of breaking the opening stand before things could potentially get ugly. At that very moment, Haris Rauf’s rocket pace saw the back of Chad Bowes, cutting the right-handed batter in half with a delivery that jagged back in sharply. A fine tickle off the inside half of the bat was converted into a wicket courtesy of a tremendous take by the forever-agile Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps to his left.
3. After losing their first wicket, the Black Caps were able to wrest back control in the first innings, largely due to the brilliance of Will Young and Daryl Mitchell, who combined for 102 runs in 101 deliveries, to take New Zealand’s total to 150 in the 27th over. Shadab Khan got Young to mistime one to Haris Rauf in the deep right after, but not before the opener had inflicted a decent amount of damage with the bat, scoring a classy 86 runs off 78 deliveries, demonstrating his prowess against both pace and spin bowling, particularly the latter. The 30-year-old now averages 54.75 in 11 ODI innings.
4. In the 42nd over of the game, after experiencing some ebbs and flows in his innings, Daryl Mitchell hoisted Shaheen Shah Afridi for a boundary down the ground to record his 2nd ODI hundred. An innings of controlled aggression, where the all-rounder picked his battles wisely, taking on Pakistan’s attack each time a delivery was bowled in his arc. His knock – which was cut short on 113 eventually by Shaheen Shah Afridi – comprised of sweeps and reverse sweeps against the spinners, using his feet to perfection, and proper golf swings vs. the seamers, with his front foot planted firmly. His celebration after reaching the coveted milestone was an extremely passionate one, which tells you all about what this effort meant to him.
5. Mark Chapman had been Pakistan’s tormentor-in-chief with the bat in the 5-match T20I series, which preceded the ODIs, and was included as a late entrant in the Black Caps 50-over squad by virtue of his series-leveling heroics. With all eyes fixated on the Hong Kong-born batter, who entered the fray in the 40th over with 222 runs on board – a situation which was tailor-made for his skill set, really – had his furniture disturbed as a result of trying to get a touch too cute vs. Haris Rauf’s menacing speed. It was a moment that breathed life into the Rawalpindi crowd as Pakistan effectively commenced their comeback with ball in hand.
6. With two deliveries remaining in New Zealand’s innings, Naseem Shah had the ball in his hand, having conceded just 29 runs in 9.4 overs, with a wicket evading him till that point in time. The right-handed pacer got his due rewards shortly after, however, as he struck twice to cap off his spell on a thrilling note, clattering Adam Milne’s stumps with an inch-perfect yorker to finish an exemplary performance with the ball. As a direct consequence, Naseem now has 20 ODI wickets after 6 completed innings – the most by any bowler in the history of the format.
7. In the modern-day game, on surfaces like the ones served up at Rawalpindi of late, chasing down 289 in 50 overs is a fairly straightforward task unless, of course, you are team Pakistan. Even though Babar Azam’s unit is generally a good chasing side, there are always nerves when it comes to batting second, particularly if you have been supporting Pakistan cricket for an extended period of time. It comes with the territory, really. Any such fears, however, were quickly dispelled by Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq, who took the charge vs. New Zealand’s bowlers, racking up their seventh stand of a 100 runs in the format, both scoring half-centuries in the process. Whilst Fakhar swatted and carved the Kiwi pacers for regular boundaries, Imam brought out his full range of strokes – pulling, cutting, and timing the ball ever so sweetly on the drive with a straight bat. The pair put on 124 runs before Ish Sodhi rapped Imam on his pads, causing the southpaw from Lahore to depart for a well-constructed 60. That said, a perfect foundation for victory had been successfully laid by arguably one of the most prolific opening duos in contemporary ODI cricket.
8. In the 35th over of the second innings, with Pakistan dominating proceedings in a rather overwhelming fashion, Fakhar Zaman worked Ish Sodhi away for a double on the off-side and breached the three-figure barrier in ODI cricket for a ninth time in 66 innings, which comes out to almost a century once in every seven outings. As remarkable as that statistic is, it does not come close to the power displayed by the King of Katlang in what was a second consecutive ODI hundred, walloping any and everything that was delivered in his slot. You either swat them like Fakhar Zaman, or you don’t even bother trying. Such was the order of the day for the former Navy seal that he spared absolutely nothing off his hips and even reverse swept the spinners on two occasions, contributing 117 runs off just 114 balls in a high-quality match-winning cause, if there ever was one.
9. When Ish Sodhi trapped Imam-ul-Haq leg before wicket, the bespectacled opener reviewed the decision. That, however, did not deter the Rawalpindi crowd from breaking out into “Babar, Babar” chants. Such is the crowd-pull of Pakistan’s premier batter and current all-format skipper. While his stay at the crease was relatively short-lived, falling one shy of yet another half-century in ODI cricket – edging an Adam Milne delivery to his counterpart Tom Latham behind the stumps – the modern-day batting behemoth played his part to ensure the game was dead and buried by the time he walked back to the pavilion, with Pakistan requiring just 75 runs in 88 deliveries. There may have been no cover drive off Babar’s bat on the night, but some audacious stroke play vs. the leg-spin of Sodhi will remain fresh in the minds of spectators who were there to witness it. The superstar batter also became the second-fastest Asian to 12,000 international runs during his innings, reaching the landmark just one innings later than his superior, in Virat Kohli.
10. Victory may have already been sealed for Pakistan when he entered the playing field at three drop, but Mohammad Rizwan’s boundary-hitting ability vs. spin bowling came to the fore well and proper as he swept, cut, and charged down the track exquisitely, helping power Pakistan to a comfortable 5 wicket win with 9 balls to spare, to go 1-0 up in the 5 match ODI series. A quickfire unbeaten innings of 42 off 34 deliveries will definitely boost Pakistan’s ace wicketkeeper’s confidence, which augurs well for the entire unit, given Babar Azam & Co. will be playing a 50-over World Cup in India later this year, and will most likely require Rizwan to deliver similar exploits with the bat.
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