Ashraf Ali Siddiqui is glad about outstanding performance of Pakistani team
Series Win Against New Zealand – The present Pakistani team is considered one of the best assembled in years. Its all-round action ensured clinching the ODI series against New Zealand for the first time in twelve years. Pakistani team added another accolade after drawing 2-2 T20I series with the touring New Zealand side. Pakistan, who won the first two matches by five and seven wickets respectively in Rawalpindi, took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. The contest with NZ team brought to fore that what traditionally has been Pakistan’s biggest weakness i.e. their top order has improved beyond belief and it is now rated as top-heavy a batting side as they come.
Left-handed opener Imam-ul-Haq led Pakistan from the front amid controlled bowling by New Zealand to restrict the home side to 287-6. Imam continued his form from the previous two matches and built momentum alongside skipper Babar Azam. The two batters shared the crease for an eye-catching partnership of 108 runs. Imam was looking good to finally score a century in this series. But, he once again fell on nervous 90. His innings included seven boundaries and a six.
An overall bowling performance by Pakistan helped them bowl out New Zealand for 261 and win the third ODI by 26 runs. Set to chase 288 runs, New Zealand kept losing wickets after regular intervals. Openers Tom Blundell and Will Young provided a good start to them but their departure was followed by a couple of quick wickets. Blundell scored the highest 65 runs for New Zealand. Skipper Tom Latham made 45 runs whereas Cole McConchie resisted a bit in the end but couldn’t take New Zealand over the victory line. He scored 63 not out including six boundaries and two maximums.
Pakistan made their first breakthrough in the 16th over when a brilliant throw by Agha Salman at third man ran out Young (31 off 41) just a ball before Blundell brought up his maiden ODI half century. For Pakistan, Shaheen, Mohammad Wasim Jr. and Naseem Shah bagged two wickets each. Agha Salman bagged one wicket.
It was in their third match at Karachi that Pakistan team defeated the NZ team in a five-match series. New Zealand had started their pursuit to a 288-run target well. Tom Blundell, who had replaced Chad Bowes at the top of the order and Will Young got them off to a flying start finding boundaries around the ground against Pakistan pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Wasim. The pair was past 50 as early as the end of the ninth over. The Weekender
Ashraf Ali Siddiqi is with