Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam joined for a ninth-century partnership as Pakistan defeated New Zealand by 26 runs on May 3, 2023, to take a 3-0 series lead and remain on track to become the first team to hold the top spot in the ICC ODI Team Rankings.
While Pakistan was put into bat, they posted 287 for six on a slow surface thanks to their 108-run partnership for the second wicket off 121 balls. In response, New Zealand gave up after a strong and encouraging 83-run first wicket stand and got out for 261 in 49.1 overs.
Pakistan will want to win the two remaining matches on Friday and Sunday to move up from fifth to first on the ICC ODI Team Rankings now that they have secured the series, their first against New Zealand in 12 years. If this happens, Pakistan will surpass its previous position of three from January 2007 and become the number-one nation for the first time.
Imam and Babar were both out in the same manner after dragging Adam Milne and Matt Henry’s pitches onto their stumps. Imam, who scored a conservative 90 off 107 balls with seven fours and a six, was the fourth batter out, while Babar made 54 off 62 balls.
After Fakhar Zaman, who had earlier been ranked as the world’s second-best ODI batter, returned to the pavilion after making a 26-ball 19 with four fours, the two had joined hands.
New Zealand swiftly reached 99 for one after 20 overs in their run chase until Pakistan’s bowlers slowed the scoring rate, allowing New Zealand to score 92 runs in their next 20 overs. This meant that the visitors needed to score 97 runs in the final 10 overs, which proved to be a difficult challenge despite fielding mistakes. They only scored 70 runs and were eventually dismissed for 261 in 49.1 overs.
Tom Blundell, the opener, had a 78-ball 65 with seven fours and participated in three profitable partnerships. He and Will Young (who contributed 33) accumulated 83 runs for the first wicket before adding 30 runs in 40 balls for the second wicket with Daryl Mitchell (who contributed 21), and 14 runs in 21 balls for the third wicket with Tom Latham (45).
Youngster Cole McConchie made 64 runs off 45 balls, including six fours and two sixes, and stated 25 runs (34 balls) with Latham for the sixth wicket, 31 runs (21 balls) with Adam Milne for the seventh wicket, 19 runs (14 balls) with Henry Shipley for the eighth wicket, and 12 runs (9 balls) with Ish Sodhi for the ninth wicket.
Naseem Shah, Mohammad Wasim Junior, and Shaheen Shah Afridi each claimed two wickets for Pakistan.
Scores in brief
Third ODI: Pakistan won by 26 runs. Pakistan 287-6, 50 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 90, Babar Azam 54, Mohammad Rizwan 32, Salman Ali Agha 31; Matt Henry 354; Shadab Khan 21 not out).
To move the innings, Mohammad Rizwan (32) and Salman Ali Agha (31) added 54 runs off 48 balls for the fifth wicket. Shadab Khan‘s 10-ball 21-run stand kept the innings alive. The vice-captain of Pakistan crashed four and two sixes, including a six off the final ball.
In the last 10 overs, Pakistan scored 82 runs for the loss of just two wickets, including 46 runs for the loss of just two wickets in just five overs.
(Tom Blundell 65, Cole McConchie 64 not out, Tom Latham 45, Will Young 33, Daryl Mitchell 21; Naseem Shah 2-42, Mohammad Wasim Junior 2-50, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-53) New Zealand 261 all-out, 49.1 overs
Imam-ul-Haq (Pakistan) was the player of the match.