Birmingham, Jun 26: Riding on Babar Azam (101 off 127 balls) and Haris Sohail (68 off 76 balls) Pakistan kept alive their chances of reaching the World Cup semi-finals as they defeated New Zealand by Six wickets in the World Cup match here at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Pakistan produced a magical performance to become the first team to beat New Zealand in this World Cup.
Earlier, after opting to bat first, riding on James Neesham 97 off 112 unbeaten (5 fours, 3 sixes) took New Zealand to a respectable total of 237/6 in 50 overs against Pakistan.
Skipper Williamson 41 off 69 (4 fours) and Grandhomme 64 off 71 (6 fours, 1 six) also played a vital role in bringing up score to a challenging total.
Kiwis batsmen failed to survive against the swing and seam of Pakistan's fast bowlers and lost their first five wickets when the score was just 83 but managed to get a defending total of 237/6 on the board.
James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme took the onus on themselves and bailed out New Zealand. The duo stitched together a partnership 132 runs, before de Grandhomme lost his wicket in the 48th over who scored 64.
Eventually, Neesham brilliant 97 off 112 and Santner (5*) took kiwis to a respectable 237/6 in 50 overs.
In reply, Pakistan didn't get of to a good start as their openers left the crease within 10 overs. Fakhar Zaman (9) while Imam-ul-Haq (19) scored respectively. The duo was caught by Martin Guptil.
Babar Azam from the other end kept the score board running and added 66 runs with Mohammad Hafeez (32 off 50 balls). On the fifth ball of 25th over, the most needed partnership was broken by when Hafeez walked to the pavilion. He was dismissed by Lockie Ferguson on Kane Williamson's ball.
Later, Haris Sohail played exceptionally well and gave most the most able support to Azam from the other end. In 42nd over, Pakistan reached 200. They just needed 37 runs to win from the last seven overs, which looked easy as the duo was on the crease.
Both Azam and Sohail added 126 runs but unfortunately he couldn't finish the match as in 48.3 over Sohail was run out. He scored 68 off 76 balls decorated with 5 fours and 2 sixes.
At the end, Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed scored one run needed and clinched the victory by defeating Kiwis by six wickets.
For New Zealand, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Kane Williamson took one wicket apiece. (UNI)