Pakistan’s cricket team has secured an impressive one-day series win over New Zealand, setting them up nicely for the upcoming World Cup. Captain Babar Azam was in buoyant mood following his team’s 4-1 victory in the five-match series, which briefly saw Pakistan reach the top of the one-day rankings for the first time in their history.
Pakistan’s performances in the series were nothing short of dominant. In the second match, they managed to score an impressive 337, which is the second-highest successful chase in one-day internationals. Additionally, Babar Azam became the fastest player to reach 5,000 ODI runs en route to his 18th century in the format.
Despite the uncertainties surrounding their participation in the World Cup due to tensions with hosts India, Babar Azam believes that this victory puts his team in a strong position for the tournament. However, the standoff between the two countries started last year when India announced that it would not be sending a team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup, which was scheduled for September 2022, a month before the World Cup. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) responded by threatening to pull out of the World Cup altogether.
While uncertainty still looms over Pakistan’s participation, last week’s visit by Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to India for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a positive sign of a possible thaw in relations between the two countries.
New Zealand, on the other hand, were struggling with a depleted team due to the absence of eight top players, most of whom were participating in the Indian Premier League. Despite this, stand-in skipper Tim Latham said the series was useful for exposing players to different roles. Regular skipper Kane Williamson, who injured his knee during the IPL, also looks likely to miss the World Cup.
Overall, Pakistan’s impressive series win over New Zealand proves that they are a team to be reckoned with in the upcoming World Cup, and Babar Azam and his team will be hoping that they will have the opportunity to compete in the tournament.