New Zealand beat Pakistan by 5 wickets with 38 balls remaining in the World Cup warm-up game
Pakistan had won the toss and elected to bat first but due to celebrations surrounding the immersion of a Ganesh idol, the game was played behind closed doors while With help from Ravindra (97 off 72), Williamson (54 off 50), Daryl Mitchell (59 retired unwell off 57), and Mark Chapman (65 not out off 41), New Zealand easily reached the target in 43.4 overs.
In the first of their two practice games before the tournament proper, Pakistan had all 15 squad members available to them. Tim Southee still hadn’t arrived in India as he continues to recover from a thumb injury, so New Zealand could only try out 14 players.
Pakistan had won the toss and elected to bat first. Due to celebrations surrounding the immersion of a Ganesh idol, the game was played behind closed doors.
After losing the early two wickets, the innings was stabilized by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, which prepared the ground for Shakeel’s late assault. Rizwan and Babar scored 114 runs for the third wicket before Babar was bowled by Mitchell Santner for 80 runs off 84 balls. Rizwan was more adept at countering spin and often manufactured room to drive them inside-out over extra cover.
He continued to bat and then retired out on 103 off 94 balls. In the final overs, Shakeel and Agha Salman teed off to help Pakistan get closer to 350. But ultimately, it wasn’t enough.
However, Pakistan failed to defend 345 runs, despite centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and half-centuries from Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel in their warm-up match against New Zealand in Hyderabad.
Rachin Ravindra’s top-order batsman position in place of Will Young provided the team management with another opening option along with Devon Conway, who lasted only one ball in the steep run chase.
Williamson returned to the dressing room after a magnificent half-century, with the focus firmly on managing players’ workloads ahead of the mega event.
Williamson is still recovering from a knee injury he sustained in the IPL in March, only came out to bat on Friday, and won’t play in the World Cup opener against England on October 5.
However, based on the way he batted against the Pakistani attack, it was clear he was prepared for the batting front of the game, if not the other areas.
Williamson was demonstrably very close to his best based on a few back-foot punches in the cover area from a tremendously quick Haris Rauf.
At the other end, Ravindra mostly dealt in boundaries, scoring his first 24 runs off only fours. His entertaining innings included a six and 16 fours.
Before retiring as number four Mitchell put New Zealand on the verge of a comfortable win. Then, Chapman and Jimmy Neesham intimidated a Pakistani attack that appeared unexceptional to win for New Zealand and improve their morale.
The majority of Pakistan’s batters would be satisfied with their performance, but the bowlers have many things to be concerned about.
Pakistan star pacer Shaheen Afridi did not bowl in the game, Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali were given the opportunity to bowl the new ball in the absence of injured Naseem Shah.
Rauf just bowled four overs and allowed 36 runs to be scored without taking a wicket. Hasan Ali, who has been back in the Pakistani lineup after nine months, performed admirably during his first spell before going for runs in the later stages of the New Zealand innings.
Usama Mir (2/68 in 10) picked up a few wickets in Leggie Shadab Khan’s absence. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz (0/55 in 7) and part-time spinner Salman Agha (1/60 in 8) were easy pickings for the opposition. On a difficult day for the bowlers, Mohammad Wasim Jr. (1/58 in 7) also cost the team dearly.
With help from Ravindra (97 off 72), Williamson (54 off 50), Daryl Mitchell (59 retired unwell off 57), and Mark Chapman (65 not out off 41), New Zealand easily reached the target in 43.4 overs.
Pakistan appears to be severely lacking in Naseem Shah for the World Cup; Babar Azam and company must come up with some real strategies to deal with the opposition on these pitches, where you need that X factor to make a difference.
The greatest strategy for Babar will be to expect that his reliable players will step up their game and take wickets when it matters most. On the other hand, New Zealand has a solid batting lineup that is strengthened by the arrival of Kane Williamson back in the lineup.
“It’s great to get through with some batting in the middle which is really nice. (On injury) It has held up pretty well and some icing now is part of the process. It wasn’t a reality five months ago, was fortunate with the recovery, and nice to be named in the squad…went pretty well, and nice to build on that. Pakistan is an outstanding side. It is an exercise and nice to compete and do all those things. There are always things to work on…great batting performance on a really good surface. We head off to a different surface against a different opposition and we look forward to it ahead of our first game.”