KARACHI: They were up against a modest opposition but still Pakistan’s 120-run triumph in their tour opener in New Zealand on Wednesday must have come as a big confidence-booster for the touring party.
Openers Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman smashed unbeaten tons as Pakistan made short work of a New Zealand XI in Nelson. They piled up 341-9 and then bowled out the opposition for 221 at the Saxton Oval with young off-spinner Shadab Khan picking up four wickets.
Fakhar, the fearless left-hander, took an instant liking to New Zealand pitches with a blistering century in Pakistan’s only warmup match before the first ODI in Wellington on Saturday.Zaman hit 106 off 84 balls before being retired out as Pakistan amassed 341-9 with Azhar Ali scoring 104 (retired) from 105 balls.
The tourists picked their best XI, looked sharp and were well up for the 50-over shakedown which confirmed a stern challenge awaits the Black Caps in the five-match ODI series.Zaman hit 12 fours and three sixes and with fellow opener Azhar Ali plundered 206 off 29 overs for the first wicket against a medium pace attack of Northern’s James Baker, Otago’s Michael Rae and Auckland’s Matt McEwan.
Zaman, 27, didn’t make his ODI debut until June, on Pakistan’s run to the Champions Trophy title. In their dream victory over India in the final at The Oval he slayed 114 off 106 balls, and played in every match of Pakistan’s current nine-match ODI winning streak while racking up 400 runs.
In June, Zaman said his time as former New Zealand skipper McCullum’s team-mate with the Lahore Qalanders in the Pakistan Super League was the key to his rapid rise.“The first time I met him [McCullum], he saw me batting and he told me ‘Fakhar, you’ll play all our matches, but ensure you play this [style of] game everywhere,” Fakhar told cricket.com.au.
“I learnt a lot from him… he’s told me so many things that are working for me.”Pakistan looked set to top 400 until former Test offspinner Mark Craig applied the brakes, trapping key batsman Babar Azam lbw for six, and removing veteran Shoaib Malik for one. Craig was the pick of the bowlers, snaring 2-51, while fellow spinner Aniket Parikh had the most success but was also expensive, ending with 3-74 off his 10 overs.
Hasan Ali, the world’s top-ranked ODI bowler after his dream year in 2017, also showed he could hit by blasting four sixes in his 36 off 15 balls.Pakistan are down on bowlers with Usman Khan, Junaid Khan and Imad Wasim all ruled out with injury, but still boast an impressive attack spearheaded by left-armer Mohammad Amir.
They bowled tight lines, the fielders chased and dived with intent and they were too good for the NZ XI containing some first-class experience. Canterbury’s Michael Davidson (54 off 81 balls) topscored before he was bowled by Hasan.
Faheem Ashraf was too quick and bouncy for openers Ben Beecroft and Jack Boyle while 19-year-old legspinner Shadab Khan, fresh from the Big Bash with McCullum’s Brisbane Heat, was tidy without gaining significant turn. Shadab ended with 4-52 off 9.1 overs. —with inputs from
New Zealand XI won toss
Azhar Ali retired out 104
Fakhar Zaman retired out 106
Babar Azam lbw b Craig 6
M Hafeez b Parikh 5
Shoaib Malik c Colson b Craig 1
†Sarfraz Ahmed c Beecroft b Parikh 21
Shadab Khan c Parikh b Baker 24
Faheem Ashraf c Craig b Parikh 17
Hasan Ali c Davidson b Rae 36
M Amir not out 5
Rumman Raees not out 0
Extras (lb 3, nb 2, w 11) 16
Total (9 wickets; 50 Overs) 341
Fall: 1-206, 2-219, 3-226, 4-230, 5-234, 6-274, 7-279, 8-301, 9-338
Bowling: Baker 10-0-63-1; Rae 9-0-77-1; McEwan 8-0-59-0; Craig 10-0-51-2; Parikh 10-0-74-3; Colson 3-0-14-0
New Zealand XI
J C T Boyle c & b Faheem 20
B J C Beecroft b Faheem 20
M S J Davidson b Hasan 54
Bharat Popli c Hasan b Shadab 16
*F J Colson c Fakhar b Shadab 12
M D Craig c Hasan b Rumman 18
A A Parikh c Babar b Fakhar 19
†L R Johns b Amir 8
M B McEwan c Babar b Shadab 28
J D Baker not out 6
M D Rae c Fakhar b Shadab 6
Extras (lb 6, w 8) 14
Total (all-out; 47.1 Overs) 221
Fall: 1-40, 2-49, 3-94, 4-124, 5-144, 6-152, 7-163, 8-200, 9-212, 10-221
Bowling: Amir 8-1-29-1; Rumman 7-0-39-1; Faheem 6-0-21-2; Hasan 9-0-30-1; Shoaib 6-0-29-0; Shadab Khan 9.1-0-52-4; Fakhar 2-0-15-1
Result: Pakistanis won by 120 runs
List A debut: B J C Beecroft, A A Parikh, L R Johns and M D Rae (New Zealand)
Umpires: John Bromley and John Dempsey (New Zealand)