NORTHAMPTON   -   Opener Fakhar Zaman’s heroics helped Pakistan thump Northamptonshire by 8 wickets in the second tour match in England on Monday.

Pakistan chased down a score of 274 runs with relative ease as they lost only two wickets in the process.

Both openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq provided Pakistan an impressive start as they contributed 157 runs for the first-wicket stand. Fakhar was sent packing by Buck at his personal score of 101 which he scored in 81 balls with the help of 15 fours and 1 six. After that, Imam and Babar Azam added 50 runs for the second-wicket partnership. Imam then lost his wicket at his individual score of 71, when Pakistan were 207-2 in 30.5 overs.

Captain Sarfraz Ahmed then joined Babar and landed their team home safely in 41 overs for the loss of just 2 wickets. Babar hammered unbeaten 53-ball 68 studded with 5 fours and 3 sixes while the skipper slammed unbeaten 30 off 34. Buck and Holland took one wicket each for Northamptonshire.

Earlier, Josh Cobb blasted an unbeaten 146 to power Northamptonshire to a respectable total of 273-6 against Pakistan. Pacer Mohammad Amir, playing his first match on the tour, clean-bowled opener Richard Levi on his very first ball and later Mohammad Hasnain, who is also playing his first tour match, bowled Ben Curran for 23 as Northamptonshire were 48-2.

Then came Cobb to rescue, whose aggressive batting changed the scene as he smashed 12 fours and six sixes during his 145-ball innings to set the tourists a target of 274. None of the other batsmen could make any significant score but four of them provided their captain some support.

Cobb added 28 with Curran for the second wicket, 56 with Charlie Thurston for the third, 56 with Tom Sole for the sixth and 84 with Brett Hutton for an unbeaten seventh wicket stand. Pakistan captain tried six bowlers in the innings and interestingly all of them took one wicket each.

Pakistan became the first team to travel to the United Kingdom, over a month before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, where they will take on England in a limited-overs series before the premier tournament.

Before the five one-day internationals and one-off Twenty20 International, they are playing three tour games against county sides, making them among the teams best placed to get used to the conditions before the World Cup.

They have put in good all-round performances in the two games so far, beating Kent by 100 runs and Northamptonshire by eight wickets. Their batting has been in especially good touch, with Imad Wasim striking a century in the first game and Fakhar Zaman in the next. Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam and Haris Sohail also have half-centuries.

“We adapted well,” said Zaman, after his knock. “It’s a good thing that our batsmen are all among the runs. Irrespective of the opposition, when you make runs, it’s good for the mindset.”

It helped his side overhaul the total of 273/6 in 41.2 overs. The batsman, who had been rested for the series against Australia earlier this year, was glad to have some runs and match-time under his belt. “Wherever you make runs, you get confidence,” he said.  Since 2016, Pakistan have fairly good memories of touring England. They have drawn two Test series and won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Zaman put their recent success and confidence down to good planning.

“Making runs, especially in these cold conditions, we’re getting good practice,” he said. “We come early and get these practice matches to adapt to conditions.”

Pakistan will play their third practice match on Wednesday against Leicestershire, before the one-off T20I against England on 5 May.

 

Scorecard

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE:

RE Levi b Mohammad Amir 0

BJ Curran b Mohammad Hasnain 23

JJ Cobb not out 146

R Vasconcelos retired hurt 1

CO Thurston c & b Haris Sohail 25

SA Zaib c & b Yasir Shah 1

IG Holland b Junaid Khan 9

TB Sole lbw b Imad Wasim 22

BA Hutton not out 27

EXTRAS: (lb 2, nb 5, w 12) 19

TOTAL: (6 wkts, 50 overs) 273

FOW: 1-0, 2-48, 3-104, 4-111, 5-133, 6-189.

BOWLING: Mohammad Amir 9-1-45-1, Junaid Khan 10-1-79-1, Mohammad Hasnain 7-1-30-1, Imad Wasim 9-0-38-1, Yasir Shah 10-0-61-1, Haris Sohail 5-0-18-1.

PAKISTAN:

Imam-ul-Haq b Holland 71

Fakhar Zaman b Buck 101

Babar Azam not out 68

Sarfaraz Ahmed not out 30

EXTRAS: (lb1, nb1, w3) 5

TOTAL: (2 wkts; 41 overs) 275

FOW: 1-157, 2-207

BOWLING: B Hutton 8-0-57-0, N Buck 7-0-52-1, I Holland 8-0-57-1, Azharullah 8-0-42-0, T Sole 6-0-28-0, S Zaib 4-0-38-0

TOSS: NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

UMPIRES: Mike Burns, Rob White