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Pakistan Boost WC Hopes With NZ Scalp

Pakistan Boost WC Hopes With NZ Scalp

Pakistan defeated the previously unbeaten New Zealand by six wickets to boost their hopes of reaching the Cricket World Cup semi-finals. The 1992 champions went into the game at Edgbaston on the back of Sunday’s vital win against South Africa, which was only their second of the tournament from six matches.

However, with fourth-place hosts England losing their second consecutive game against Australia on Tuesday, this win moves Pakistan to within a point of a place in the knockout stages. New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat first as they chased the win which would have secured them a place in the semi-finals.

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The Black Caps struggled early on in the innings with Martin Guptill removed for just five by Mohammed Amir, while Shaheen Afridi took care of Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham to record bowling figures of 3-28. Kane Williamson fell to Shadab on 41 with New Zealand reeling on 83-5, before Jimmy Neesham’s unbeaten 97 in a 132 sixth-wicket partnership with Colin de Grandhomme rescued their innings.

De Grandhomme was run out on 64 as New Zealand finished their 50 overs on 237-6. Set 238 for the win, Pakistan lost opening duo Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul-Haq with 44 runs on the board, before Mohammad Hafeez was the third wicket to fall.

But Babar Azam and Haris Sohail hit 101 and 68 respectively in a fourth-wicket partnership of 126 runs to guide Pakistan to the brink of victory, before the latter was run out by Guptill Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed hit the winning runs courtesy of a boundary as they finished on 241-4 with five balls remaining. Pakistan now face a winnable game against Afghanistan at Headingley on Saturday as they look to overhaul England for a top-four finish.

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