KARACHI-Captain Babar Azam’s 18th ODI century and four-fer by Usama Mir put Pakistan 4-0 up as the hosts thumped New Zealand by 102 runs in the fourth ODI here at the National Bank Stadium on Friday.
New Zealand’s chase of 335 got off to a poor start as both openers were dismissed within the first 10 overs. Pakistan’s Muhammed Wasim Junior provided the first breakthrough by dismissing Will Young for 15, followed by Haris Rauf who removed Tom Blundell for 23 in the very next over. Captain Tom Latham and Daryl Mitchell then added 83 runs for the third wicket but took over 100 balls to do so.
Mitchell was dismissed by Usama Mir for 34 off 48 balls, while Mark Chapman joined Latham and started playing some good shots, hitting Agha Salman and Iftikhar Ahmed all over the park. Latham was caught behind off Shaheen Afridi for 60, while Chapman was clean bowled by Usama for 46. James Neesham was also bowled by Harif Rauf, leaving the visitors at 205-6. New Zealand’s last four failed to make an impact as they were bundled out for 232. Leg-spinner Usama Mir picked up four wickets for 43 runs, while Muhammad Wasim Jnr took three wickets for 40 runs.
Earlier, Babar Azam’s another century and Agha Salman’s second fifty led Pakistan to put up a mammoth 334-6. Pakistan tested a new opening pair as Shan Masood was given a chance with regular opener Fakhar Zaman, but it didn’t work out well as Fakhar (14) once again failed to contribute significantly and got out at a total of 36. Shan Masood was then joined by Babar Azam and both added 50 runs for the second-wicket stand before the former perished for 44, being stumped off Ish Sodhi.
At the other end, Babar kept the scoreboard moving first with Muhammad Rizwan and then with Agha Salman. Rizwan, who batted at number 4, was run out in the 25th over, leaving Pakistan at 128-3. Then the skipper was joined by Agha Salman, and the pair knitted 117 runs for the fourth wicket, scoring over 6 runs in an over. Agha Salman hit four boundaries and two sixes for his 46-ball 58. He was caught and bowled by Matt Henry at 245.
In the meantime, Babar completed his 18th century in one-day internationals and eventually went on to score 107 off 117 balls. The captain smashed 10 fours in his calculated innings. Babar surpassed South Africa’s legendary batter Hashim Amla to reach the landmark in the fewest number of innings. The 28-year-old took just 97 innings to amass 5,000 ODI runs, four innings fewer than the previous record of 101 innings held by Amla.
Iftikhar Ahmed scored 28 runs at a strike rate of 127.27 before losing his wicket to Matt Henry. Muhammad Haris’ 17 off 8 and Shaheen Shah Afridi’s 23 off just 7 helped Pakistan pass 330 as the hosts scored 38 runs in the last two overs. Haris smacked a maximum and a four while Shaheen Afridi hammered three sixes and a four to Blair Tickner in the last over. Matt Henry picked up three wickets for 65 runs while Ish Sodhi and Benjamin Lister also took a wicket each for 53 and 57 runs, respectively.