Pakistan 334 for 6 wickets (Babar 107, Salman 58, Masood 44, Henry 3-65) defeated new zealand 232 (Latham 60, Chapman 46, Mir 4-43, Wasim 3-40, Rauf 2-37) by 102 runs
But the fast bowlers made a comeback and Afridi once again clean bowled Latham and played a good, albeit less explosive, inning of 60 runs in 76 balls. Chapman continued bowling, but Mir’s fast bowling knocked out his stumps for 33 runs. -Ball 46. After this, New Zealand’s resistance ended. Mir gave a career-best performance by taking a few more wickets, taking 4 for 43, and Pakistan won by 102 runs.
Earlier, another century from Babar helped Pakistan reach a score that always looked ahead of New Zealand. In an innings where he also became the fastest player to score 5000 ODI runs, the batsmen – especially Babar and Salman – were in control for most of the time on a flat pitch. However, New Zealand, led by Matt Henry, troubled Pakistan regularly enough to keep the score from getting completely out of hand. Some late fireworks from Mohammad Haris and Afridi ensured that the platform set by Pakistan’s middle order would lead to a big score.
Pakistan began the turnaround having already clinched the series, and Shan Masood – who replaced Imam-ul-Haq – guided Pakistan through the powerplay with particular ease, when Henry dismissed Fakhar Zaman in the same innings. Removed early with the delivery that had got him out in the previous game. , Back-of-a-length ball went high in the air.
The innings continued to run on autopilot through a 50-run, ten-over stand between Masood and Babar, before some sharp work from Blundell behind the stumps saw Masood fall to Ish Sodhi. Pakistan’s reliance on the top order is well known, the fall of Mohammad Rizwan following a direct-hit by Henry would have faltered. But even in the slightest adverse situation, Salman emerged brilliantly.
Along with his brilliant performance in sweep and reverse sweep, Salman, who was skilled in the use of footwork, again put New Zealand on the back foot. With a straight six off Cole McConchie, he completed his half-century in 40 balls and also completed the century partnership between him and Babar.
Babar blended into the background but still went past 50 with ease, as he usually does in ODIs. By the time Henry took a brilliant return catch to dismiss Salman, Babar was just 12 runs away from his century and was content to give Iftikhar the lead.
Iftikhar collected an entertaining cameo – 28 off 22 – before Babar ticked through the off side to bring up his century in 113 balls. When Babar holed out to deep midwicket to give Ben Lister his first wicket on ODI debut, Pakistan were somewhat in a quandary, with two overs remaining and still unable to get past 300.
Wasim and Shaheen improved by scoring 38 runs in the last two overs, also forcing the batting up. The four sixes and two fours he hit between them meant he had done enough to break New Zealand’s spirits. In reality, Pakistan’s bowling showed and Afridi-Wasim cameos added to what was almost a certain victory.
Daniel Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danny61000