3rd Match: New Zealand v Pakistan at Sharjah, 12 Apr 2001
Mahmood Ahmad

Pakistan innings: Pakistan-15 Overs, Pakistan-30 Overs, Pakistan-50 Overs,
Pre-game: Pre-Game,
New Zealand innings: New Zealand-15 Overs, New Zealand-30 Overs, New Zealand-50 Overs,


PAKISTAN ROMP HOME WITH 8 WICKETS TO SPARE

The task that was started in a magnificent style by Afridi was brought to a befitting end by Saeed Anwar and Inzamam-ul-Haq, as the experienced Pakistan duo completed an 8-wicket comprehensive victory over New Zealand with 7.5 overs to spare in the innings.

These two seasoned campaigners made the best of a quick-fire opening stand of 113, adding an unbeaten 157 for the third wicket, to bring about victory for Pakistan in 42.1 overs, as Saeed Anwar (81 off 75) lifted Grant Bradburn over the infield for his 10th four.

His innings also contained two magnificent sixes to Walker. Inzamam also hit 10 fours in his unbeaten 71, as he made stroke playing look very easy throughout his 90-ball innings.

After bringing 200 in the 34th over, both these players rushed to their half-centuries in the 36th over. Inzamam was first to reach to his 57th fifty in ODIs with the help of 7 fours. Saeed Anwar took fewer balls (57 against Inzi’s 69) to get to his 37th half-century in ODIs, which contained, apart from 7 fours, one six.

He hit his second six off Walker taking Pakistan close to 250-run mark by the 40th over. After that it was just a matter of time before Pakistan reached their target to complete an 8-wicket win in the match.

In a post match ceremony, Shahid Afridi was declared man of the match for his superb all-round performance (70 off 43, 7 fours and 6 sixes and 2 wickets for 49).

Pakistan now have 4 points from two matches. They go confidently in tomorrow’s match against Sri Lanka, a victory in which will ensure them a place in the final.



INZAMAM AND SAEED BLAZE PAKISTAN ALONG TOWARDS THE TARGET

Any hopes on New Zealand’s part to find their way back into the match after dismissing both Pakistani openers, was dampened by an unbeaten 69 run partnership for the third wicket between Inzamam and Saeed Anwar, arguably the most reliable batsmen, taking Pakistan very much in sight of victory.

Compared to the fireworks of Shahid Afridi, theirs have been innings of utter care and concentration, Yet the strokes they executed to all parts of the ground were full of quality by any standards.

Inzamam specially was in full flow as he found boundaries with utter ease. He was particularly harsh on leg spinner Walker, getting all but one of his boundaries off him. He got off the mark with a powerful pull to square leg, followed by another one to mid wicket. He got another boundary in the next over, bowled by Adams, to rush into double figures.

Pakistani vice-captain then went to thrash four more boundaries, all off Walker to reach into his 40’s in a very short time.

Saeed Anwar was his usual composed self right from the beginning. Seemingly in no hurry to find runs after Afridi’s blitz, he went for singles and doubles with his ground-strokes played to virtually all parts of the park.

Pakistan reached 150 of their innings in the 23rd over, as Saeed Anwar elegantly cut Harris to deep point boundary. The fifty for the third wicket came up in the next over, off 51 balls, as Inzamam found two boundaries off Walker – the first a forceful pull to mid wicket, the second a sweep to fine leg.

With heat and due generating their effect, the bowlers were seen to be struggling quite a bit, throwing one or two loose ball once in a while, which were promptly hit for boundaries.

Pakistan have reached 182 for 2 by the end of their 30 overs, with both Inzamam and Saeed apparently in no trouble at all against the inexperienced bowling attack, taking their respective scores to 42 (55 balls, 7 fours) and 27 (37 balls, 4 fours).

With another 85 to get in 20 overs, Pakistan is very much in sight of pulling of victory, which looked quite improbable before the start of the innings.



AFRIDI BLITZ GETS PAKISTAN TO EXPLOSIVE START

Explosive might be the only word to describe the sort of start Pakistan made in search of New Zealand’s 266. Afridi unleashed a flurry of fours and sixes all around the Sharjah Cricket Stadium to leave New Zealand attack in tatters right from the outset.

Starting the innings along with Imran Nazir, with Saeed Anwar due to come next, Afridi blew a six in the very first over, bowled by James Franklin. Imran was not be left behind as he took seven off Oram’s first over, including a sweetly timed boundary to deep point.

However, any attempt by him to match Afridi’s hitting proved a mere fallacy, as he only watched from the non-striker’s end while Afridi went for his lusty hitting at the other end.

After conceding 35 in the opening four overs, the New Zealand captain made the mistake of bringing on Grant Bradburn with his off spins. The skipper might have been under the illusion that spinners had seen a lot of success so far during the tour. However, he was soon disillusioned when Afridi embarked upon his run spree showing no respect whatsoever for the bowler.

After getting 11 off his first over, he punished the off spinner for another 27 in the next and that were the last one saw of Bradburn for the time being. Pakistan raced from 47 to 74 in that one over, as Afridi took 3 sixes (two straight and the third over sq leg) and two fours off his five balls after Imran Nazir had picked up a single of the first.

And the crowd, it just went mad when Afridi raised his bat acknowledging his 24-ball fifty, which contained 5 tremendous sixes and 4 fours. It was not long after when Pakistan reached their hundred in just the 11th over, as Afridi helped himself with yet another boundary, the bowler this time being medium pacer Andre Adams.

And just when it looked like Afridi would record yet another swift century, he threw this wicket away in his usual carefree manner. Apparently trying to get as many runs as possible before the field restrictions would be lifted, the belligerent Afridi drove Adams straight to Franklin at mid on. He made 70 off just 43 balls, hitting 7 fours and 6 sixes, taking Pakistan to 113 for 1 by the end of the 15th over.



SINCLAIR CENTURY INSPIRES NEW ZEALAND TO COMPETITIVE TOTAL

Sinclair scored his first ODI century as he inspired New Zealand to a competitive 266 for seven in their 50 overs against Pakistan. The right-handed opener, dropped by Inzamam in his 20s, improved upon his previous match’s performance (60 against Sri Lanka), to get 117 (144 balls) in an innings of a lot of application.

Having reached his fifty off only 51 balls, Sinclair got a bit slow after the introduction of spin, led by Saqlain, taking another 74 balls to arrive at his first century, which contained six hits to the fence.

Sinclair added 35 for the fifth wicket with Lou Vincent, when Vincent became Afridi’s second victim of the innings with the score on 186. He made 15 before going for a sweep from outside the off stump, he missed the line and was adjudged lbw.

Harris then joined the opener at the crease and they carried the score past 200 by the 41st over. However, these two could not force the scoring rate up in the final overs, as Pakistan fielders somewhat made up for their early lapses with a good display of ground fielding.

Sinclair was out in the penultimate over of the innings, bowled by Razzaq. He tried to cut one to the off side, but spooned the ball to point where Shoaib Malik dived forward to take an excellent catch.

Jacob Oram hit a beautiful straight boundary off Razzaq’s next ball. The burly left-hander scored ten (3 balls), including a six off the first ball of the last over, before being bowled by the Pakistani captain. The skipper also got rid of Harris (29 off 35 balls, 2 fours) in that over to finish with two for 37 in eight overs. Razzaq got two for 31 (7 overs), whereas Afridi finished his 10 overs with two for 49.



NEW ZEALAND MAKE STEADY PROGRESS AS SINCLAIR GETS ANOTHER FIFTY

Mathew Sinclair continued playing with command and authority, as New Zealand, having added another 74 in their next 15 overs, look for a total in excess of 250. The third-wicket partnership between Sinclair and McMillan produced 80 runs in around 16 overs, before the latter played on to an Afridi delivery.

Having survived some close moments earlier in the innings, Sinclair gradually gained in confidence as he reached his fifty, his second of the tournament, in 51 balls of which five were hit to the fence. He displayed excellent footwork against some tidy bowling by Pakistani spinners.

The hundred was brought up off the bowling of Razzaq when Sinclair dispatched the pace man to the extra cover boundary.

McMillan, dropped on three, played some beautiful shots to keep pace with his partner’s free flow of runs. After reaching the hundred-run mark in the 19th over, the score raced to 150 after the passage of 10 more overs.

New Zealand lost their third wicket at 151, when McMillan was bowled for 46 (52 balls, 3 fours). After conceding two fours in his first over, Afridi hit back by bowling McMillan off the inside edge.

At the 30-over stage, Sinclair was unbeaten on 70 (88 balls, 6 fours). Lou Vincent, coming to the crease after the fall of McMillan’s wicket, was on one after facing four balls.



AUDACIOUS SINCLAIR GIVES NEW ZEALAND SOUND START

New Zealand had a mixed first 15 overs after electing to bat first on another batting strip at Sharjah. Getting runs at a rate in excess of five an over, the Black Caps lost two wickets at times when they seemed to be running away with it. However, the situation could have been worse had Pakistani fielders not been so generous as to drop at least two easy catches.

New Zealand openers, Mathew Sinclair and Chris Nevin, employed an attacking approach from the start, with the former handing two lovely boundaries to Sami in only the second over of the match. Nevin hit a four in Waqar’s second over as he punched the Pakistani captain uppishly into the covers. The outstretched hands of Younis Khan just could not reach the ball as it raced to the fence.

Both openers played some lovely drives, all on the off side, to maintain a run rate of six an over after the first five overs. The hallmark of their batting was excellent running between the wickets and improvisation in playing shots.

Pakistan got the first breakthrough at just the right time. The openers had reached 45 by the eighth over and were looking ominous when Sami got rid of Nevin for 15 (19 balls). He hit two boundaries before being caught at short cover by Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Inzamam saw another catch coming his way in Sami’s next over, off Sinclair’s bat, but the burly man floored an apparently easy catch at short mid-wicket. Having reached their fifty in the tenth over, the New Zealanders played some more exquisite boundaries, to reach 70 by the 12th over.

Waqar brought Razzaq into the attack for the 13th over and the all-rounder struck with the fifth ball, bowling Matthew Bell for five (21 balls). Saqlain, coming on for the next over, was unlucky not to be among the wickets when Razzaq put down a mis-timed sweep from McMillan. This could prove costly, as McMillan is the man who scored a lot of runs in the home series against Pakistan.

At the 15-over stage, New Zealand have reached 79 for two with Sinclair, leading the scoring for his side, on 45 (46 balls, 5 fours) and skipper McMillan not out on three off seven balls.



NEW ZEALAND BAT FIRST AGAINST PAKISTAN

The New Zealand captain Craig McMillan won the toss in the third match of ARY Gold Cup tournament and, in keeping with tradition, elected to bat first.

The Black Caps, desperately in need of a win to stay in contention for the final, go into this second match without Daryl Tuffey, arguably their most successful bowler in recent times, due to fitness problems. The paceman makes way for the off spinner Grant Bradburn.

For Pakistan, Imran Nazir replaces the left-handed Imran Farhat, who has been out of sorts recently.

As for the pitch, there is nothing different in it from the previous matches. As Ravi Shastri commented before the match: “Another good surface for batting; however, it might get slow in the second innings, as we saw in the last two matches."

An interesting feature of this match is the appointment of New Zealander Doug Cowie as one of the officials of the match along with England’s John Hampshire

© CricInfo

Date-stamped : 13 Apr2001 - 06:28