Fakhar Zaman smashed a third consecutive century to guide Pakistan to a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the second one-day international on Saturday. The 33-year-old left-handed opener hit an undefeated 180 off 144 balls for his tenth ODI hundred. It followed his 117 in the first match and 101 against the same opponents in January as Pakistan chased a stiff 337-run target in 48.2 overs. The win gives Pakistan a 2-0 lead in the five-match series with the last three matches in Karachi on May 3, 5 and 7.
Along with Zaman, skipper Babar Azam hit a brisk 66-ball 65 and Mohammad Rizwan a 41-ball 54 not out as Pakistan achieved their second highest successful ODI chase behind 349 against Australia in Lahore last year.
New Zealand were guided to 336-5 by a second successive hundred for Daryl Mitchell, who made 129, Tom Latham’s 98 and 51 by Chad Bowes.
Zaman is the 12th batsman to score three or more hundreds in consecutive ODIs with Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara the only man to hit four on the trot. Azam has achieved the feat twice.
When on 98, Zaman joined West Indian Shai Hope as the second fastest to 3,000 ODI runs in 67 innings. South African Hashim Amla is the fastest to the milestone in 57.
Once Imam-ul-Haq fell for 24 with the team’s total at 66, Zaman and Azam added 135 for the second wicket and even the fall of Azam and Abdullah Shafique (seven) did not derail Pakistan’s chase.
Azam hit five boundaries and a six in his 25th ODI fifty.
“It was my lucky day to score again against New Zealand as I got chances,” said Zaman.
“I try to take my time at the start and then with five players in the circle it becomes easier to score.”
Visiting skipper Latham described Zaman as “outstanding”.
“We were very happy at the halfway mark,” said Latham. “Fakhar played an outstanding knock. They were able to build partnerships and that was a big tick in the batting department.”
– Mitchell in the runs –
Zaman, who smoked six sixes and 17 fours, completed the chase with Rizwan in an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 119.
New Zealand ruled dropping Zaman on 55 when Mark Chapman grassed a catch off James Neesham.
Earlier, Mitchell improved on his 113 in the first ODI on Thursday with a 119-ball knock after New Zealand were sent in to bat.
Mitchell smashed three sixes and eight boundaries and consolidated the innings through a third-wicket stand of 183 with skipper Latham, as the pair took full advantage of a flat pitch.
Mitchell was finally caught brilliantly by Mohammad Nawaz off pacer Naseem Shah in the 46th over, while Latham was caught behind off Haris Rauf an over later.
It was Naseem who gave Mitchell an extra life four short of his hundred when he dropped a simple catch off spinner Usama Mir at mid-on.
That allowed Mitchell to complete his hundred off 102 balls — the third of his ODI career.
Latham hit eight boundaries and a six off 85 balls.
Bowes and Will Young gave New Zealand a 33-run start before pacer Rauf had Young caught behind for 19 in the sixth over.
Bowes, who hit seven boundaries in his maiden ODI half century, steadied the innings with Mitchell as the pair added 86 for the second wicket.
It was Rauf again who broke the stand when he trapped Bowes leg before wicket in the 19th over. Rauf was the pick of bowlers with 4-78.
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