Pakistan staged a remarkable counterattack led by Fakhar Zaman, who struck a magnificent century, to secure a 21-run victory via the DLS method in the 35th match of the World Cup at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday.
This triumph has kept Pakistan's hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive. Facing the daunting task of chasing down 402 runs, Pakistan launched a fierce offensive against New Zealand. Fakhar Zaman blazed a spectacular century from just 63 balls, while Babar Azam was inching toward his own half-century when rain intervened, with Pakistan at 160-1 in 21.3 overs.
After the rain delay, the revised target was set at 342 runs in 41 overs, and Fakhar Zaman resumed his assault, ultimately finishing unbeaten at 126 with eight boundaries and an astonishing 11 sixes. Babar contributed an unbeaten 66 to the partnership. Pakistan continued their aggressive play, adding 40 runs to their total in just four overs before the rain returned.
Pakistan's fireworks with the bat put them 21 runs ahead of the DLS par score when the game was called off, securing a crucial victory. This win elevated them to eight points from eight matches, level with fourth-placed New Zealand.
In the first innings, New Zealand posted a commanding total of 401-6 in 50 overs, thanks to Rachin Ravindra's third century of the World Cup and Kane Williamson's return to form with a 95. Ravindra's brilliant innings delighted the local fans, as he reached 108 from 94 balls, featuring 15 fours and a six. He combined with captain Williamson for a 180-run partnership, while other contributions from Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman, Glenn Phillips, and Mitchell Santner helped swell New Zealand's total.
Pakistan's decision to bowl first had raised eyebrows, but New Zealand made a strong start, with openers Devon Conway and Ravindra dominating the powerplay. Hasan Ali, who replaced Usama Mir, made an impact by dismissing Conway for 35, breaking the opening stand.
Kane Williamson, playing his first match since recovering from a fractured thumb, played a crucial role, toying with the bowlers and providing support to Ravindra. However, he fell to Iftikhar Ahmed while attempting a third six, and Ravindra was later dismissed by Mohammad Wasim (3-60). New Zealand, the 2019 World Cup runners-up, initially seemed poised for victory but ended up facing disappointment in this rain-affected encounter.