DUBAI - New Zealand and Pakistan shared honours of the three-match ODI series after the decider in Dubai was called off in less than seven overs of the chase.

Chasing 280 on a slow pitch, New Zealand were dented early as the big-hitting Colin Munro was cleaned up by Shaheen Afridi in the first over. Henry Nicholls, who was promoted to No. 3, and George Worker steadied the innings with an unbeaten 32-run stand in 6.1 overs before rain stopped play. Even as rain stopped after a couple of hours, play was called off.

Earlier in the day, led by half-centuries from Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam and Haris Sohail Pakistan finished with 279 for 8 despite Lockie Ferguson bagging his maiden fifer. Both the batting and bowling efforts were commendable given that they came in conditions unsuitable for strokeplay or for fast bowlers.

Pakistan elected to bat after winning the toss. Imam ul Haq, who was hit on his helmet in the previous game, made way for Sohail in the XI. New Zealand, meanwhile, were without their regular skipper Kane Williamson - missing out due to a minor groin strain - while senior pacer Tim Southee was rested, allowing BJ Watling and Matt Henry to come into the side.

Even as Mohammad Hafeez, who was promoted to open the innings, struggled, Zaman’s strokeplay allowed Pakistan to put on a half-century stand for the opening wicket. The ball weren’t always hit with the middle of the bat, and despite the sluggish nature of the wicket, the batsmen were beaten at regular intervals. However, a boundary every now and then allowed Pakistan to chug along at a good rate.

Hafeez’s stay was cut short in an unfortunate manner. Looking to work a short delivery from Ferguson to the leg side, he ended up going deep in his crease and hit the stumps with his back leg to dislodge the bails.

The dismissal did little to trouble Pakistan’s scoring. For as long as Zaman was at the crease, there was a carefree approach to their innings. Zaman, who was struggling with his form coming into the series, notched up his second consecutive fifty. However, he wasted a good start looking to hit Colin de Grandhomme out of the ground. He mistimed and holed out to Henry at long on.

While one entertaining stay ended, another one began. Sohail grabbed his opportunity and executed some delightful strokes to provide another strong example of his talent, and make a case for a regular selection in the Playing XI.

He was aided as well by an error from Grandhomme. Looking to clear the ground, he hadn’t connected the ball well. However, the fielder was standing too far ahead of the ropes and allowed the ball to go over the fence, with only fingers touching the ball on the way. The six helped Sohail bring up his fifty.

While the southpaw was in the middle, the limelight was all on him. Babar was happily playing the second fiddle, working the ball around for singles. It was only once he departed, after putting on a 108-run stand for the third wicket, that Babar took centre stage and took the assault to the visitors. He unleashed the big strokes and ran hard to help push the scoring rate.

But much like Sohail, with whom he had added 108 for the third wicket, Babar fell on 92 in a bid to accelerate in the death.

On a slow wicket, there was little assistance for the pacers. New Zealand tried to take the pace off the ball to trouble the batsmen further. While Ferguson’s pace and de Grandhomme’s lack of it troubled them, the others bowlers were attacked easily.

 

 

Scorecard

PAKISTAN:

Zaman c Henry b de Grandhomme................... 65

M Hafeez hit wicket b Ferguson......................... 19

Babar Azam c Nicholls b Boult............................. 92

Haris Sohail c Worker b Ferguson....................... 60

Shoaib Malik c Worker b Henry.......................... 18

Asif Ali b Ferguson..................................................... 9

Faheem Ashraf b Ferguson.................................... 5

Hasan Ali c Worker b Ferguson.............................. 2

Sarfraz Ahmed not out.............................................. 1

EXTRAS: (b 1, w 7)..................................................... 8

TOTAL: (8 wkts, 50 overs).................................. 279

FOW: 1-64, 2-98, 3-206, 4-250, 5-264, 6-275, 7-278, 8-279.

BOWLING: MJ Henry 10-0-53-1, TA Boult 10-0-80-1, LH Ferguson 10-0-45-5, C de Grandhomme 8-0-34-1, IS Sodhi 9-1-51-0, C Munro 3-0-15-0.

NEW ZEALAND:

GH Worker not out................................................... 18

C Munro b Shaheen Afridi........................................ 0

HM Nicholls not out.................................................. 15

EXTRAS: (w 2).............................................................. 2

TOTAL: (1 wkt, 6.5 overs)...................................... 35

FOW: 1-3.

BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 3.5-0-18-1, Faheem Ashraf 3-0-17-0.

TOSS: PAKISTAN