New Zealand prevented a whitewash by beating Pakistan by 47 runs in the final One-Day International (ODI) match of the series in Karachi on Sunday. The victory also prevented Pakistan from attaining the top spot in the ODI ranking. New Zealand opener Will Young and captain Tom Latham scored half centuries in their team’s total of 299 in 49.3 overs. In response, Pakistan was all out for 252 in 46.1 overs despite Iftikhar Ahmed’s unbeaten 94 and Agha Salman’s 57. The Black Caps’ consolation win meant that Pakistan won the series 4-1, but Sunday’s defeat relegated them to the third position on the ODI team rankings with 112 points. In the new rankings, Australia occupies the top position while India takes the second spot.
Iftikhar led Pakistan’s fightback from 66-4 as he added 97 for the fifth wicket with Agha Salman, but New Zealand held their nerve to dismiss Pakistan’s last man, Haris Rauf, for one run. His innings contained eight fours and two sixes. A crowd of around 20,000 had come in anticipation of Babar Azam’s memorable 100th ODI, but they were left disappointed when Pakistan’s skipper was caught off a miscued shot off Shipley for a five-ball one. Before that, opener Shan Masood had fallen for seven, Fakhar Zaman managed a laborious 64-ball 33, and Mohammad Rizwan fell for nine, leaving Pakistan struggling on 66-4. Usama Mir scored 20, Shadab Khan 14, Shaheen Shah Afridi nought, and Mohammad Waseem six but could not offer enough support to Ahmed.
Fast bowler Shipley took 3-34 and spinner Rachin Ravindra his career-best 3-65 as New Zealand survived a brilliant 72-ball 94 not out by Iftikhar Ahmed to dismiss Pakistan. New Zealand’s innings was built around Young’s 91-ball 87 and a 58-ball 59 from Latham after the visitors won the toss and opted to bat at the National Stadium. New Zealand lost Tom Blundell for 15 and then Henry Nicholls for 23 before Young steadied the innings in a 74-run third wicket stand with Latham. Young hit eight fours and two sixes and was looking set for a hundred but was smartly caught by wicketkeeper Rizwan off leg-spinner Shadab in the 30th over. Then Mark Chapman upped the tempo with a breezy 33-ball 43 with two sixes and five fours, adding 56 for the fourth wicket with Latham. Chapman was unlucky to be caught behind off the glove as he tried to sweep Shadab to leg side. He took 22 off one over from spinner Agha Salman. Latham also holed out off-spinner Mir in the 42nd over after hitting five boundaries. Ravindra (28) and Cole McConchie (26) added useful runs before New Zealand were bowled out in 49.3 overs. For Pakistan, Shaheen took 3-46 while Mir and Shadab claimed two wickets apiece.
The match witnessed some excellent performances from both sides, but ultimately it was New Zealand who emerged victorious. While Pakistan won the series, the defeat in the final ODI cost them the chance to reach the top spot in the ODI ranking. New Zealand will take some positives from their victory as they look forward to future matches.