Babar Azam’s century helped Pakistan beat New Zealand by six wickets in Birmingham on Wednesday.
Pakistan, in desperate need of a win, got off to a flying start against New Zealand, who had never lost a match in the tournament up to this point.
Their young left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-28) rocked New Zealand’s top order and teamed up with Mohammad Amir to reduce them to 46-4 after nine overs.
Shadab Khan dismissed Kane Williamson for 41 and put Pakistan in the driver seat with New Zealand on 83-5 after 26.2 overs.
A sensational middle-over burst from Colin de Grandhomme and James Neesham switched the momentum back to New Zealand. The pair strung together 132 runs before De Grandhomme lost his wicket on 64.
Neesham continued his onslaught to finish on an unbeaten 97, to help his side post a competitive 237-6.
Pakistan lost only three wickets in their chase of the target.
Azam (101) was the standout performer whose century was key to taking Pakistan over the line.
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 26, 2019
Pakistan were 110-3 after 24.5 overs but Azam, who was joined by Haris Sohail (68), strung together 132 runs in a dominant chase, before the latter was run out with two runs needed to win.
They managed to get over the line, however, with five balls remaining.
Pakistan’s victory broke New Zealand’s unbeaten record and kept their hunt for a semi-final spot alive by taking them to level points with Bangladesh, who are in fifth spot.
Photo: Cricket World Cup/Twitter