5th Match: New Zealand v Pakistan at Sharjah, 15 Apr 2001|
New Zealand innings:
After the loss of Younis (8 off 28), plumb lbw off Oram immediately after the break, Inzamam and Faisal Iqbal featured in an unbeaten partnership of 64 in about 12 overs to romp home in 25.2 overs.
Inzamam, maintaining his pre-dinner belligerent style, hit 12 fours and two huge sixes, one each off Walker and Bradburn, to remain unbeaten on 85 from 67 balls, his third fifty in 4 matches. His partner faced 33 balls and hit two boundaries, including the winning shot, to remain not out on 17.
Inzamam completed his 59th half-century in ODIs off 41 balls as he hit the off spinner Bradburn for 10 (a six and four) in his 2nd over, 17th overall. This feat from Pakistan vice-captain carried 7 fours and 2 sixes.
However, it was Saqlain who was declared man of the match for his four-wicket haul for 17 runs in the New Zealand innings.
With this overwhelming loss, New Zealandís chances of reaching the final have almost fizzled out, because even if they win their last match, they face the near-impossible prospect of surpassing the Sri Lankans on net run rate.
In Afridiís absence, Pakistan opened with the in-form Saeed Anwar, but this time his stay at the crease was brief. After showing his form by hitting a beautiful boundary off Tuffeyís second ball, the left-handed opener was run out in Millsí second over, the fourth overall.
Going for a run off a misfield, following a cover drive by Imran Nazir, Saeed set off for a run only to be sent back. He failed to recover his ground as the accurate throw by McMillan took the middle stump at the bowling crease.
An utterly out-of-sorts Imran stayed for three more balls before offering an easy catch to Walker at mid on. Saeed made eight off 12 balls, whereas Imran got seven off 13, with both hitting one four each.
The fall of two quick wickets, quite understandably, put the brakes on the scoring, with only 33 coming off ten overs, until Walker was introduced for the 11th.
Inzamam went on the offensive right from the start, hitting the spinner for four boundaries, as 18 came off that over. The Pakistani vice-captain hit another boundary in Millsí next over, a lovely straight drive, before pulling Walkerís first ball of his second over to deep mid-wicket for the first six of the innings.
The next four balls from Walker were right on target, with the leg spinner almost getting an lbw decision in his favour off the second. However, he was hit for another boundary off the last ball to finish his two overs for 28 runs.
At the dinner break, Pakistan have reached 67 for two (13 overs), with Inzamam sitting pretty on 39 off just 27 balls. His docile looking partner, Younis Khan, is on eight after facing the same number of balls.
After reaching 89 in 15 overs, the Black Caps looked set for big things. However, some accurate bowling and fine fielding by Pakistan laid bare the inexperience in their batting line up, as apart from Nevin and McMillan none of the remaining batsmen could take his score into double figures.
It all started immediately after the first drinks break when McMillan was run out off the first ball of the 16th over. Going for a single to the covers, McMillan (16 off 24 balls, 1 four) found himself well short of his ground as Shoaib Malik hit the stumps at the strikerís end.
Vincent and Oram took the score past 100 in the 19th over, before the former was caught behind off Saqlain for nine (26 balls).
The next two wickets belonged to young speedster Sami who bowled to a much better line and length in his second spell. After bowling Harris with a sizzling yorker in his ninth over, he struck again in the tenth, inducing the left-handed Oram to give a simple return catch. Harris and Oram scored five (8 balls) and six (26 balls) respectively.
After conceding 18 in his first two overs, Sami gave away just 23 in his eight-over second spell and picked up two important wickets.
Losing seven wickets for 113, New Zealand desperately needed someone to pick things up for them. However, Saqlain had some other ideas. He struck three times in three overs, getting rid of Mills (four off 15 balls), Bradburn (one off 13 balls) and Tuffey (six off 10) to wrap up the innings for 127 in the 31.3 overs.
The wily off spinner finished with four for 17 in 7.3 overs, whereas Razzaq took three for 22 in 6 overs.
New Zealand's opening pair started off aggressively, a fair indication of the fact that they were playing with a target of maybe around 300 in mind. After dispatching the first one from Waqar to the deep cover fence, Nevin collected one more off the over.
Sami gave away nine in his first over with most of his deliveries swaying from the line. New Zealand raced to 28 by the end of the fourth over. However, most of their runs had come off mistimed pulls and drives, dropping just short or wide of fielders.
However, their luck soon ran out, as Waqar brought on Razzaq for the sixth over. The young all-rounder was right on target from the word go. He found a big gap between Sinclairís bat and pad when the batsman tried an ambitious drive to the leg side. He then struck in his next over, bowling Bell with a yorker.
Sinclair, the centurion in the previous match, could get only nine (10 balls, 1 four) this time round, whereas Bell made five off eight balls.
New Zealand reached their fifty in the next over, the ninth overall, bowled by Waqar. The slightly-built Nevin, continuing with his enterprising shots, hit two consecutive boundaries as he collected 12 off the skipperís over. However, he was lucky to survive a mis-timed a pull when Saeed Anwar, fielding at mid on, failed to judge the ball as he ran back a few yards.
Nevin reached his half-century when he hit Sami for two consecutive boundaries. The New Zealand opener took just 39 balls to complete his third ODI fifty, which contained five fours. However, he didnít stay too long after that; trying to lift Razzaq to leg, he holed out straight to Sami at deep square leg.
At the 15-over stage, McMillan is not out on 16 (23 balls, 1x4) and Vincent is on two (12 balls).
Pakistan have made three changes in their side. Mohammad Sami and Razzaq come back into the side, whereas Kashif Raza and Yasir Arafat are left out. The most notable omission from the side is the buoyant Afridi, who has been advised to rest after twisting his knee the other day.
The conditions at Sharjah Cricket Stadium are more pleasant than on the previous days, the maximum temperature being not more than 30 degrees Celsius.
The toss has been won by New Zealand and, not surprisingly, they have opted to bat first.
Date-stamped : 15 Apr2001 - 22:24