No other team even outside cricket flirts with the emotions of their fans quite like Pakistan, as displayed by Pakistan batting in the third ODI on tour to New Zealand.
One day they look like world beaters, the very next day they would come up with a performance that would make many doubt their credentials as one of the powerhouses of the game. Not very long ago, Pakistan were the toast of the cricketing fraternity after they won the Champions Trophy in June last year despite being the lowest-ranked side in the tournament.
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Few months after that historic win, the Men in Green came perilously close to posting the lowest ODI score. Sarfraz Ahmed & Co. were looking primed to create the dubious record after being reduced to 32 for 8 but somehow managed to avoid it as New Zealand thrashed them by 183 runs in the third One-Day International in Dunedin to take an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Pakistan looked anything but clueless in the first two games of the five-match series, and the third ODI was not an exception either. Chasing 258 to keep the series alive, the visitors were bundled out for a paltry total of 74 runs in 28 overs.
Out of the 11 players, only four managed to cross the double-digit mark while none of them could reach the 20-run mark with number eleven batsman Rumman Raees (16) being the top-scorer. Azhar Ali, Muhammad Hafeez, and Shadab Khan returned to the pavilion without bothering the scorer, Fakhar Zaman (2), Babar Azam(8), Shoaib Malik (3) and Hasan Ali (1) collectively managed to add only 14 runs to the team’s total.
That Pakistan are set for a humiliating defeat was very much clear when they could manage only 9 for three inside the first powerplay. The condition only deteriorated when half of the side was back in the hut with just 15 on the board and was reduced to six just one run later. But thanks to skipper Sarfraz Ahmad (14*), Faheem Ashraf (10), Mohammad Amir (14) and Raees, they managed to cross the 35-run mark which is the lowest ODI total. Left-arm pacer Trent Boult was the star of the show, taking 5 for 17.
Earlier, half-centuries from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor helped New Zealand to 257 runs. At 209 for 3 in the 43rd over, the hosts were looking set for a big total, but they lost momentum after losing seven wickets in their last seven overs for just 48 runs.
New Zealand 257 (Williamson 73, Taylor 52, Raees 3-51, Hasan 3-59) beat Pakistan 74 (Boult 5-17) by 183 runs