Fakhar Zaman smashed run-a-ball 88 and fast bowler Shaheen Afridi (4-38) grabbed his second successive four-wicket haul in Pakistan’s six-wicket victory against New Zealand in the second one-day international on Friday. Left-handed Zaman hit 11 boundaries in his aggressive half century and Babar Azam notched 46 off 50 balls as Pakistan raced to 212-4 in 40.3 overs to level the three-match series.
Mohammad Hafeez stayed unbeaten on 27 and raised Pakistan’s victory with a crisp boundary off Tim Southee. Pakistan’s other left-handed opener, Imam-ul-Haq, was rushed to a hospital for precautionary tests after he was hit on the grille by Lockie Ferguson’s sharp bouncer before Pakistan built its victory around Zaman and Azam’s century stand.
Later, the Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed on Twitter that Imam’s scans were clear. He joined the team but will remain under observation. Ferguson took 3-60, but New Zealand’s hat-trick hero in the first game, Trent Boult, returned wicketless conceding as many runs off his 10 overs.
Earlier, New Zealand was restricted to 209-9 with Ross Taylor scoring a fighting unbeaten 86 off 120 balls for his second half century in a row in the series. Afridi bowled intelligently upfront when he had free scoring Colin Munro (13) caught at mid-off in his first over.
Captain Kane Williamson, who won the toss and elected to bat, was unlucky to get run out when Afridi got finger tips off George Worker’s hard drive and the ball smashed onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end with Williamson out of his crease.
Worker struggled for his 50-ball knock of 28 before he played all around to off-spinner Hafeez and was clean bowled while Afridi made its 4-73 by clean bowling Tom Latham off a sharp yorker. Taylor and Henry Nicholls (33) tried to rebuild the innings with 75-run stand, but Pakistan never allowed New Zealand to score freely with leg-spinner Shadab Khan conceding just 25 runs off his 10 overs for the wicket of Colin de Grandhomme.
Pakistan’s most expensive fast bowler, Hasan Ali (2-59), returned and had Nicholls bowled in the 38th over before Afridi snapped two more wickets to restrict New Zealand. Imam and Zaman were hardly troubled by New Zealand’s pace until Ferguson’s sharp rising delivery forced Imam to retire hurt on 16.
Imam tried to pull Ferguson in the 13th over at the total of 54. He was beaten for pace and was rushed to hospital in an ambulance. But Zaman and Azam continued to score freely against both pace and spin and took the total to 155.
Ferguson dismissed both batsmen in the 29th over when Zaman skied a catch to Ish Sodhi, and Zaman followed when his upper cut was caught well on the edge of the boundary line at third man. Nicholls was back in action at forward short leg when Shoaib Malik’s hard pull ballooned off the fielder’s left shoulder and Sodhi grabbed the diving catch.
Captain Sarfraz Ahmed was caught behind off leg-spinner Sodhi with Pakistan needing only six runs for victory as Pakistan leveled the series with more than nine overs to spare.