Twitter Reactions: Babar Azam and Haris Sohail knock down New Zealand in Birmingham

Twitter Reactions: Babar Azam and Haris Sohail knock down New Zealand in Birmingham

Pakistan's fourth-wicket stand didn't allow the Kiwis to get a foothold back into the game.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Pakistan needed to come out trumps against New Zealand in order to keep their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup semis alive. Sarfaraz Ahmed and Co did it in style, winning the match at Edgbaston in Birmingham by six wickets with five balls to spare. It also brought to end, the Kiwis’ unbeaten streak in the mega event. Pakistan’s victory also meant that the points table in the middle got even more complicated.

The Black Caps, after electing to bat first under overcast conditions, got off to a horrendous start. Martin Guptill chopped one on to the stumps off Mohammad Amir. Colin Munro hit two fours and edged one to the slips to give Shaheen Shah Afridi his first wicket. Afridi went from strength to strength and pinned the experienced Ross Taylor and then Tom Latham in succession to leave the Kiwis in the shambles.

Shaheen also bowled three maidens and conceded only 28 runs. Shadab Khan delivered the body blow, getting rid of the in-form Kane Williamson, who tried his best, having scored 41 off 68. With Pakistan on top, the all-rounders Colin de Grandhomme (64) and James Neesham (97) shouldered the Kiwis back into the game with a 132-run stand. Their resolute show took their team to a competitive score of 237 in 50 overs.

Haris and Babar do the job

Pakistan got off to a poor start as both their openers- Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq- fell prey to Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson respectively. Thereafter, Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez steadied the ship and put on 66 for the third wicket. Mitchell Santner extracted prodigious turn, but it was captain Kane who broke through, dismissing Hafeez, who scored 32 with five fours. Ferguson took an easy catch in the deep.

The in-form Haris Sohail joined Babar in the middle and carried on the good work, Babar accomplished his fifty off 65 balls and then Haris notched back-to-back half-centuries off 63 balls. Their century stand was raised in 122 balls and Pakistan kept marching towards victory. On 99, the talented Babar played four dot balls and then roared to his 10th ODI ton off 124 balls. Sohail was dismissed on 68 off 76 balls just short of the target.

Here is how Twitter praised Babar, Haris and Pakistan: