Blow Pak­istan off the park

Sunday News - - CRICKET -

vis­it­ing bats­men hardly fired a shot, ex­cept opener Fakhar Za­man with 82 not out, and were well be­hind at 166-6 in the 31st over when rain swept in at 5.35pm.

It was a fa­mil­iar tale for Pak­istan, who have now lost six straight ODIs against the Black Caps in New Zealand stretch­ing back to 2011. De­spite their dream 2017 they hadn’t played an in­ter­na­tional since sweep­ing Sri Lanka in Oc­to­ber, and af­ter one warmup game struck a red-hot New Zealand side who rel­ished the bouncy Basin.

Nel­son will pro­vide a warmer wel­come for the tourists on Tues­day but New Zealand are at mi­cro­scopic odds to close out this se­ries, per­haps as soon as Dune- din on Satur­day. No team had ever been set more than 300 to win a Basin ODI but Pak­istan’s pow­er­ful top-six should have done much bet­ter on a de­cent bat­ting sur­face. The chase was es­sen­tially over in the first, well, over, when Tim Southee struck twice in con­tro­ver­sial cir­cum­stances.

Azhar Ali chal­lenged his lbw de­ci­sion that looked leg side but re­plays showed was OK.

Then the big one, world No 4-ranked Babar Azam, was trapped on the back foot by Southee first ball. It looked high, and ball tracker later con­firmed it, but Sri Lankan um­pire Ruchira Pal­liyagu­ruge fired Babar im­me­di­ately and with Azhar hav­ing used their one de­ci­sion re­view he was gone.

Fakhar Za­man was Pak­istan’s best bats­man.

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