Fakhar powers Pakistan to another comfortable win

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Fakhar Zaman’s second successive century anchored Pakistan to another comfortable seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the second one-day international on Saturday.

Fakhar followed his 117 in the first ODI with another entertaining unbeaten 180 off 144 balls as Pakistan pulled off its second highest successful run chase in ODIs.

Pakistan romped to 337-3 in 48.2 overs after New Zealand posted an imposing 336-5 on the back of Daryl Mitchell’s own second straight hundred — a career-best 129 off 119 balls.

Fakhar made New Zealand pay a heavy price for dropping him twice soon after his half-century. He smacked 17 boundaries and six sixes in Pakistan’s chase to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

“It was my lucky day to score again against New Zealand,” Fakhar said after he was dropped in James Neesham’s successive overs after his half-century off 44 balls with 10 boundaries.

“I get a lot of liberty while playing with (Mohammad) Rizwan and he made things easier for me. I was told to stay at the crease till the end.”

Fakhar shared two dominant century stands, adding 135 runs with captain Babar Azam (65), and an unbroken 119 with Rizwan (54 not out), who survived two close run-outs and reversed a caught behind decision against him on review.

Fakhar Zaman century drives Pakistan to 5-wicket win over NZ
Fakhar was especially punishing of New Zealand spinners Ish Sodhi (1-79) and Rachin Ravindra (0-75), who conceded 154 runs off their 20 overs.

Pakistan opted to rest regular bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan and made New Zealand bat first again. Except for Naseem Shah, the rest of the Pakistan bowlers struggled against Mitchell and Tom Latham.

Mitchell and Latham, who made 98 off 85 balls, combined in a 183-run stand after Chad Bowes’ run-a-ball 51. Both batters gave fast bowler Ihsanullah an expensive debut with 0-60, and also picked on Haris Rauf, despite him taking 4-78.

Mitchell’s and Latham’s aggression allowed New Zealand to score 98 off the final 10 overs against sloppy Pakistan fielding.

“At the halfway mark we were pretty happy, (but) credit to Fakhar, he played an outstanding knock,” Latham said. “They were able to build partnership after partnership . . . we have done that well in the last couple of games, but we have to create more chances in the middle phases.”

Pakistan could have deprived Mitchell of his century but Naseem Shah put down a regulation catch at mid-on when the batter was on 96. Mitchell completed his century off 102 balls.

His brilliant knock included eight fours and three sixes, and ended when Mohammad Nawaz took a brilliant diving catch at deep square leg.

Latham missed out on a century when Rauf got a thin inside edge of the left-hander’s bat.

The series moves to Karachi for the remaining three ODIs next week.

Result: Pakistan won by 7 wickets
Player of the match: Fakhar Zaman
Next match: May 3 Wednesday
By: Saif R Siddiqui

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