Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan dazzle in series decider

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Pakistan put up 280/9 in their 50 overs in the final ODI against New Zealand in Karachi. When they opted to bat in the series decider, Pakistan would have taken this score at the start of the innings but halfway through, they looked well-set to breach the 300-run mark. Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Rizwan put on a brisk 154-run stand for the third wicket but New Zealand stormed back after breaking that stand before Agha Salman provided the finishing touches with a 43-ball 45.

Pakistan didn’t make the greatest of starts as Lockie Ferguson struck in the second over of the innings to dismiss Shan Masood for a second-ball duck. Babar Azam took ten balls to open his account but Zaman at the other end looked in good touch right from the start. Kane Williamson’s decision to introduce spin as early as the seventh over of the game proved to be a masterstroke as Michael Bracwell got Babar stumped off his third delivery.

At 21/2, the hosts needed a partnership quite badly to stabilise the innings and they got one in the form of Zaman and Rizwan. The wicketkeeper-batter swept his third ball for a boundary whereas Zaman fetched two boundaries in a Mitchell Santner over. Post the first powerplay, the two batters were content in picking singles but Zaman broke the shackles with a couple of boundaries off Tim Southee. He brought up a fifty and looked in great nick as the duo raised 100 for the third wicket.

Once set, the boundaries started flowing again as Zaman took on Santner to smash him over deep midwicket for a six before Rizwan drove Southee through the covers to inch closer to a fifty. Rizwan then started finding the boundary at regular intervals as well, taking his strike rate past 100 before failing to read a googly from Ish Sodhi to give New Zealand a much-needed breakthrough. The visitors capitalised on the opening as Zaman was first run out immediately after getting to his century. After 40 overs, Pakistan were 206/4 but Henry Nicholls was involved in another run out, this time to see the back of Haris Sohail.

Salman managed to stand tall but saw the likes of Mohammad Nawaz and Usama Mir fall in quick succession without making an impact. While New Zealand kept a check on the rate, Salman came up with a few boundaries to guide the side past 275.

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