Pakistan score first ODI series win over New Zealand in 12 years

Pakistan wrap up five-match series after defeating New Zealand by 26 runs in the third one-day international match in Karachi.

Pakistan registered their first one-day international series win over New Zealand in 12 years with a hard-fought 26-run victory in the third match in the southern port city of Karachi on Wednesday.

Imam-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam scored 90 and 54 runs respectively to guide Pakistan to 287 runs in their 50 overs. It was Azam’s 26th ODI half-century.

But New Zealand were bowled out for 261 in 49.1 overs despite half-centuries by Tom Blundell (65 runs) and debutant Cole McConchie, who hit an impressive 64 runs of 45 balls.

Pakistan, who won the first two matches by five and seven wickets respectively in Rawalpindi, took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

The last two matches are on Friday and Sunday, also in Karachi.

Pakistan’s last ODI series win over New Zealand was in 2011 and since then they had lost six of the seven series, with one drawn.

New Zealand threatened to run away with a win as Blundell and Will Young (33 off 41 balls) gave them a confident opening stand of 83 in 15.3 overs.

Pakistan finally broke through with Young’s run out off a direct throw from short third-man, before Mohammad Wasim dismissed Daryl Mitchell for 21 – the man who had hit successive hundreds in the last two matches.

Fifteen runs later, Blundell was also run out after failing to reach his crease in an attempt to complete a second run. He hit seven boundaries in his knock.

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam and teammates celebrate after winning cricket match against New Zealand.
Pakistan’s cricketers celebrate after winning the series against New Zealand [Asif Hassan/AFP]

Tom Latham, who made 45, and Mark Chapman (13) added 40 for the fourth wicket but pacer Naseem Shah bowled Chapman with a beautiful delivery before Latham was cleaned up by Wasim.

McConchie tied valiantly to snatch a victory for New Zealand, smashing two sixes and six fours but ran out of partners. He remained not out.

Naseem, Wasim and Shaheen Shah Afridi all took two wickets for Pakistan.

Earlier, New Zealand started well by getting the in-form opener Fakhar Zaman caught off Matt Henry for 19.

Zaman, who had scored three hundreds in his last three ODI innings, had shaped up well before his fall, leaving it to Haq and Azam to steady the innings during their 108-run second-wicket stand.

Azam hit three fours and a six before he chopped one onto his stumps off Henry.

Haq was bowled by pacer Adam Milne in the 38th over.

Abdullah Shafique struggled again as he managed just 19, but Agha Salman (31) helped Mohammad Rizwan (32) add 54 runs for the fifth wicket to lift the total.

In the final overs, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan also chipped in with 11 and 21 not out respectively.

Henry was the best bowler for New Zealand, taking three wickets for 54 runs.

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